A candidate for West Virginia state senate was brutally attacked over the weekend when a man wielding brass knuckles blind-sided him at a cookout, police say.
Retired Major Richard Ojeda, an Iraq and Afghanistan veteran who's challenging the incumbent Democrat, was attending the political function in the town of Logan when a man reportedly asked him for a bumper sticker.
When Ojeda knelt to attach the sticker to the man's car, police say the suspect struck the candidate as many as nine times with brass knuckles, knocking him out.
According to West Virginia State Troopers, the suspect--who's been identified as 41-year-old Jonathan Porter--then climbed into his truck and tried to run over Ojeda.
Bystanders reportedly used their own vehicles to block the suspect from hitting the candidate.
Ojeda, 45, was rushed to a trauma unit. He suffered multiple facial fractures and a severe concussion and will require surgery sometime this week, reports WOWK.
While witnesses reportedly told police that Porter used brass knuckles, no evidence of the weapons were found at the scene and Porter denied using them, State Trooper Zachary Holden told NBC News.
Holden said Porter turned himself in after hiding out in the woods for six hours.
Porter is being held on suspicion of malicious assault, malicious attempted assault and felony destruction of property. He is scheduled for arraignment Monday.
Though he's far from recovered, Ojeda has already vowed to continue his fight to represent the people of WV District 7.
Police cited no motive for the attack, but Ojeda appears to believe it was politically driven.
"Sorry for the pic but make no mistake....I am now even more dedicated to the cause," Ojeda wrote in a Facebook post along with a photo of his battered face.
"This doesn't scare me and I don't quit! This was premeditated and there was a reason the guy did this. Regardless....if anyone thinks that this will get me to march in line you obviously don't know me very well."
Ojeda is due to go up against incumbent Senator Art Kirkendoll in Tuesday's primary. Kirkendoll condemned the attack in a Facebook post on Sunday.
"I was informed that my opponent was physically assaulted and injured at a political function today. I do not now, nor have I ever, condoned violence.
"It has no place in our political campaigns or in our communities. My and my family's thoughts and prayers are with my opponent and his family and we wish him a speedy recovery."