(CNN) - After spending time yesterday with the Democratic Governor Joe Manchin at a parade in Milton, West Virginia, we drove to Morgantown to see his GOP opponent in this suddenly tight race for Senate.
John Raese is a wealthy businessman who has run, and lost, three statewide races here. But in an interview at his campaign headquarters, Raese said he thinks this time will be different because voters are more open to his anti-government views.
"I've been a conservative in West Virginia before that was popular," Raese told me, "I've seen a change in West Virginia. Not a change in John Raese, but a change in West Virginia and a change in America.
He even said he likes to "kid" the Tea Party that they are "a little bit to the left of me."
So what are Raese's positions?
He told me he wants to put an end to the minimum wage.
"Minimum wage is something Franklin Delano Roosevelt put in during the depression. I didn't work during the depression and it certainly hasn't worked now," Raese said, "the laws of supply and demand have to start working. We have to get back to free enterprise in this country."
He was emphatic that this is his "conviction."
"Minimum wage has never worked in this country. It's something that hurts a lot of youth employment in this country," said Raese.
The GOP Senate candidate also says he wants to eliminate the Departments of Education, Energy and the Internal Revenue Service.
On the Department of Education, he told me that its "$52 billion to operate the Department of Education today. I think it's a redundancy with the federal government and the state government."
"Another one that comes to mind is the Department of Energy," said Raese. "It cost us $32 billion a year to have the Department of Energy. They don't drill wells they don't dig mines." he said.
And on the IRS:
"We spend millions of dollars every year just for the right to pay our taxes but once again do we really need to do that? Why don't we simplify it? And I've certainly looked at fair tax, I've looked at flat tax, and if I get to the US Senate. I'd like to review that," Raese told me.
Democrats have been hammering Raese, saying his family lives in his home in Florida, not West Virginia.
Raese told me the reason his family is mostly in Florida is because his 12 year old daughter has special needs.
"I have a special child and there are not a lot of services around for that special child, and so we picked out a school that would be a very good school for her. But we have houses here in West Virginia. This is where I vote, this is where I'm from. I'm running for the US Senate but I'll do anything I can to take care of my children," said Raese.
Democrats have also been trying to paint him as out of touch with West Virginians by emailing around a picture of a pink marble driveway in front of his Florida home.
"I think it's a good freedom of choice and the last time I checked here in America we are free, even to have a pink marble driveway," said Raese.
Since his residence of record is Florida how can he run for the senate from WVA. Seems to me since Coulter can vote any place possible then the residence of Ann Coulter and get away with it in Florida this guy would have run from his state of residence. HE IS BEING CHECKED OUT NOW. And I hope to Hades WVA has the guts to follow the law.
Thank you Mr Raese for giving people yet another reason to throw WV under the bus.
Who would have thought Kennedy and Byrd's seats would go to Republicans. Wow!
West Virginians,give this guy Raese his walking papers, not good for seniors, veterans, children, first responders, teachers and WE THE MIDDLE CLASS PEOPLE.
West Virginia (and the rest of the US) need Raese in office. His policies are much better than those by his career politician opponent.
When I hear people say - and you hear this all the itime– "I don't follow politics much, but maybe we need to shake things up, give the other guys a chance" - it makes me think that basic civic literacy tests for voting may not be such a bad idea after all.