State Sen. Richard Ojeda (D-W.Va.) is facing accusations that he threatened a Republican state delegate in Facebook messenger over the weekend. Ojeda, who has been called a "Trump Democrat," allegedly became perturbed by the delegate's actions at a craft beer festival.
What are the details?
West Virginia House of Delegates member Rupie Phillips took to Facebook on Sunday, sharing a screenshot of messages allegedly sent to him from Ojeda that said: "When I'm done with you, you will beg me to ease up. I'm going to make you famous ... and it's not going to be in a good way. Haha."
In his own post, Phillips fired back at Ojeda, dubbing him "Little Richie" and saying that "[Ojeda] has attacked me and multiple others for the last four years. Especially on his late night Facebook Live narcissistic and psychotic rants. He reminds me of 'Ole Rover.'"
Ojeda is running against Republican nominee Carol Miller for the U.S. House seat in West Virginia's 3rd Congressional District in the midterm elections on Nov. 6. Ojeda leads his rival 36 percent to 31 percent in the district Trump won by 50 points, according the latest Emerson poll.
In an interview with Fox News on Wednesday, Phillips explained that he believes Ojeda became triggered by the fact that the delegate introduced Miller to locals at a craft beer tasting and chili cook-off over the weekend.
"What boils down to, [Ojeda] had some family members at the cookout and they're talking about me taking Miller around to his hometown and introducing her to people," Phillips said. "I guess he thought he could scare me, and I guess I hurt his feelings."
What did the Ojeda campaign say?
The Ojeda campaign acknowledged that the candidate sent the message to Phillips.
The spokesperson told Fox News, "This is absurd and obviously not a threat of physical violence. Richard was speaking about exposing Del. Phillips for his corruption in the West Virginia Legislature."
His spokesperson continued: "Richard has stood against corruption in government from the beginning of his political career and that will never change. It's truly sad that families in our communities are being ripped apart by opioids and devastated by poverty and Delegate Rupie Phillips has chosen to focus his attention on this. It's obvious where his priorities are and it is not with the people of West Virginia."
Ojeda has been dubbed a "Trump Democrat" for voting for the president in the 2016 election. But he told Politico in March that he now regrets voting for Trump, "because he hasn't done s**t," adding, "It's been a friggin' circus for a solid year."