CHARLESTON, W.Va.-- Republican Bill Maloney says the eyes of the nation are on West Virginia, and he feels strongly that Tuesday's special election for governor will be the next transformational election in America.
Maloney, who came out of political obscurity to defeat front-runner and former Secretary of State Betty Ireland in the Republican primary, is now fighting a similar uphill battle to best Democratic front-runner and acting Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin.
It's a battle Maloney is confident he can win.
"We feel real good," he said. "We've been on an upward trend, and they've tried to come back at us with some stuff, but we feel we're going to go right on up to Election Day."
With just four days before the election, Maloney - whose 53rd birthday is this Sunday — and his wife Sharon, 53, have been crisscrossing the state encouraging people to vote.
"We get our people out, we win," he told supporters at his campaign headquarters in Charleston Thursday evening.
The strategy in these final days hasn't been to focus so much on Tomblin, but to frame the election as a referendum on President Barack Obama.
"This is becoming a huge national event," Maloney said. "It's the next transformational election in our country."
He is hoping that frustration over national politics will play in his favor Tuesday.
In the first campaign stop of the day Thursday, the Maloneys visited J.H. Fletcher & Co. in Huntington.
Founded in 1937, the company that specializes in manufacturing mining equipment has grown in the past decade from about two-dozen employees to 279 full time workers and 35 temporary laborers.
But recently, CEO Doug Hardman said he has been forced to adapt the business model.
"We have been in business for over 75 years, but we're slowly moving offshore because our government is moving our customers offshore," Hardman said.
While he supports Republicans and Democrats alike, he wasn't sold on the president's recent jobs legislation offering businesses tax credits for hiring certain workers.
"I have never made a decision on whether to spend money or hire people on a tax credit," Hardman said. "I make a decision based on future business."
He wishes that Washington would provide more certainty when it comes to tax policy and regulation over the next ten years, which is more likely to get him to invest in new jobs. And he thinks putting Maloney in the Governor's Office would be one way to make Washington listen.
From there, it was off to a noon rally outside of Huntington City Hall, where about 20 people held signs for Maloney.
Milton resident Laura Grimm, 87, clutched a sign and an American flag for about an hour. A life-long Republican, Grimm has attended as many Maloney events as possible since the primary.
"I go back to Goldwater," she said. "We are at the top of all the bad things and at the bottom of all the good things — we need to change that very badly," she said.
While Maloney can count on party faithful like Grimm for their support, he will need more people like Sterling Hall if he hopes to win.