HUNTINGTON – An attorney representing U.S. Congressional candidate Richard Ojeda has sent a cease and desist letter to opponent Carol Miller’s campaign regarding an ad Ojeda’s team says is “absolutely untrue.”
Ojeda posted a letter Oct. 31 on Twitter written by Wheeling attorney Teresa Toriseva sent to Miller’s Carol for Congress campaign headquarters in Huntington. In the letter, Toriseva says Miller’s campaign has published an ad stating Ojeda’s “plan would strip Medicare from 1 in 3 seniors.”
“This is absolutely untrue,” Toriseva wrote. “Senator Ojeda has a plan that would save Medicare from the Republican Assault on its funds that are held in trust for those Americans workers who have paid into it.
“Further, your ad falsely states that his plan ‘would end employer provided health insurance for coal miners.’
“You are fully aware that his plan would not harm any coal miner’s access to employer provided health insurance. Your statements are brazen and inexcusable lies.”
In her letter, Toriseva notes that a public official can sustain an action for libel if he can prove the alleged statements were false or misleading; tended to defame the plaintiff and reflect shame, contumely and disgrace on him; the statements were published with knowledge that they were false or misleading or were published with a reckless and willful disregard for the truth; and the publisher intended to injure the plaintiff through the knowing and reckless publication of the alleged libelous material.
“The statements you have made and publish satisfy all four (4) of these elements,” Toriseva wrote. “Therefore, you are hereby commanded to immediately cease and desist the illegal defamation, slander and/or libel, which includes taking down or removing this defamatory political advertisement regarding Richard Ojeda that you have placed or caused to be placed on any social media platform.”
Toriseva also writes that Miller’s public social media accounts and other media outlets will be monitored to ensure “you have stopped defaming the senator and make no further false statements.”
The battle for West Virginia’s 3rd Congressional district has been one of the most hotly contested and most discussed races in the country this election.
Miller, a Republican member of the House of Delegates, has the support of President Donald Trump, who won in West Virginia by an overwhelming margin in 2016. And he won the 3rd District, which encompasses the coal-heavy southern part of the state, by a 49-point margin.
Ojeda, a Democratic state Senator, has been profiled by national media outlets and has drawn attention because of his outspoken style, his high-profile stance during this spring’s statewide teacher strike and his effort to get a medical marijuana bill passed. He also won his senate race by a 59-41 margin in 2016 when Trump cruised to victory.
Miller and Ojeda are vying for the seat currently vacant but previously held by Evan Jenkins. Jenkins ran for Joe Manchin's U.S. Senate seat, but lost in the May primary to West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey. Jenkins resigned from the House after he was appointed to the state Supreme Court by Gov. Jim Justice.
Most polls show the race as very The general election is Nov. 6.