CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Bill Maloney, the Republican candidate for governor, easily ticks off West Virginia's problems, as he sees them.
The business climate isn't good, the courts are lacking, the tax code needs to be reformed, the coal industry is over-regulated and West Virginia is home to one of the worst educated populations in the country.
Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin, the Democrat incumbent and veteran of the state Senate, wonders just what Maloney plans to do about any of it.
Tomblin narrowly defeated Maloney in last fall's special election for a one-year term. A full four-year term is on the ballot this fall.
Tomblin and Maloney met Tuesday with the Daily Mail editorial board. There, they had an exchange that summarized their 16-month fight to lead the state.
Maloney, who has repeatedly criticized the size of state government, said if he were elected, he would look at things a little differently than Tomblin.
"I would just be curious which programs you'd be cutting from state government?" asked Tomblin, whose administration is trying to make cuts right now.
Maloney pulled out his campaign's two-page "blueprint for a brighter future."
"I'm not - we have a plan right here, I'll give it to you," Maloney said, sliding the glossy brochure across the table to the governor. "I'm not the one running things right now - you are."
Tomblin didn't move to reach for the brochure. His campaign has dismissed the document as "nothing more than a pollster's political pabulum."
Maloney can be blunt. Talking about doing more to prevent diabetes and the amputations that follow, he said, "We need to educate our population about there are alternatives: You don't need to get your leg cut off."
But when asked for policy specifics, he talks about his business experience and the need for real leadership.
"We need goals and metrics at these agencies," Maloney said. "I don't see any plan and any goal at any agency. I mean that's what managers do, that's what people with businesses do: You have a business plan, you figure out what do you do, what's your goal, what you're measuring yourself against - I don't see any of that."
"Yeah," Tomblin said, "what we're doing is running a responsible government."
And there it was: the choice. Do voters think the state doesn't have a plan and that Maloney will come up with one? Or do voters think Tomblin is responsibly running the state?
Ask Tomblin supporters and they wonder if Maloney, a Morgantown businessman who has never held public office, has any idea what he's doing. "Bill Maloney shows lack of understanding - again," the Tomblin campaign titled a recent press release.
Ask Maloney supporters and they say Maloney has to get under the hood before he can fully grasp - much less fix - the problems, which Maloney said includes everything from "unhealthy habits and lifestyles" to "corruption issues." Maloney's goal is to "bring new leadership to West Virginia with more jobs and less corruption," the campaign said recently.
Tomblin, who started his career in the House of Delegates while he was still in college, has been under the hood for decades, first as a rank-and-file lawmaker, then as chairman of the Senate Finance Committee and then as Senate president.
At times, it showed. Maloney said the state Department of Health and Human Resources is "probably one of the biggest agencies we have."
A few moments later, Tomblin made sure to note, "There's no doubt it's our largest state agency."
The two sparred over a series of issues:
"We're just encouraging all the stakeholders to get involved," Tomblin said. "It's something if you're going to change education, you got to have a lot of buy-in from a lot of people to get the legislation changed."
While he didn't mention it, there has to be some "buy-in" from the House Education Committee, many of whose members have union sympathies and can usually kill or wound reforms that teachers unions oppose.
Maloney, who has called for immediate reforms to education, said he thinks there are a "lot of special interest groups that are holding our education back."