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Legislators Ojeda, Phillips announce runs for Jenkins' House seat

Two West Virginia legislators have announced a run for the U.S. House of Representatives Third District seat currently occupied by Rep. Evan Jenkins, R-W.Va. Delegate Rupert "Rupie" Phillips, I-Logan, and Sen. Richard Ojeda, D-Logan, each announced runs Thursday. (West Virginia Legislature)

Two West Virginia legislators from Logan County have announced a run for the U.S. House of Representatives 3rd District seat currently occupied by Rep. Evan Jenkins, R-W.Va.

Delegate Rupert "Rupie" Phillips, I-Logan, and Sen. Richard Ojeda, D-Logan, each announced runs Thursday.

Phillips was expected to hold a news conference about 1:30 p.m. Thursday in the Governor's Conference Room at the Capitol, where he was expected to change his party affiliation from Independent to Republican, according to Eyewitness News' newspaper partner, The Logan Banner.

The move will be Phillips' second party change in 2017. In January, Phillips announced he would switch his party from Democrat to become the only Independent in the West Virginia House of Delegates. Phillips has served in the House of Delegates since 2010.

Ojeda is expected to hold a news conference at 5 p.m. Thursday at Logan High School, campaign spokesman Chris Stratton said. Elected in 2016, Ojeda gained national attention when he was attacked at a political cookout in May 2016. Ojeda later said the attack was politically motivated.

Ojeda sponsored West Virginia's medical marijuana legislation, which was signed by Gov. Jim Justice on April 19.

Jenkins on Monday announced a bid for Senate, challenging incumbent U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va.




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