RICHMOND, Va. (WDBJ7) Matt Waters doesn't have a $20 million war chest, or statewide name recognition, but in the final weeks of his campaign for the U.S. Senate, he says his message is reaching Virginia voters.
"We are on the ballot. It took us a lot of work to get there, but we are," Waters told WDBJ7 in a recent interview. "And people I think are looking at our message of ending the federal debt and reining in spending. I think it's resonating with the voters."
Born in Newport News, Waters is the only Virginia native in the race.
Now 51 years old, he lives in Alexandria, where he works as a fundraising consultant.
He's making his first run for public office.
Waters turns to the state motto to highlight the central theme of his campaign.
"Every Virginian should know 'Thus always to tyrants.' It's emblazoned on our flag," Waters said. "And I think when Jefferson and Mason and Madison penned these words they were thinking about tyrannical taxes, an invasive government, a lack of representation. These are issues that are still with us today, in fact probably more so today than they were in 1776."
His plan to reduce the size and scope of the federal government requires strong medicine, major reforms to entitlement programs including Social Security and Medicare.
And a critical look at federal departments including Energy, Agriculture, Commerce and Environmental Protection.
"You know I'm not Santa Claus," Waters told us. "I'm not giving away free Medicare. I'm not going to bump the minimum wage up. I'm not going to give you free college, because I don't think we can afford it. The numbers don't work."
Waters is a realist, who says that polling 10 percent would be a major victory, and help the Libertarian Party get on the ballot in the future.
And he says he believes more Virginians are looking for leaders who will confront one of the nation's greatest threats.