LINCOLN — Lincoln businessman Todd Watson announced last week he will mount a "conservative Constitutionalist" challenge to Sen. Deb Fischer in the 2018 Republican Senate primary election.

"Our current U.S. Senate needs a makeover," Watson said in a news release before making his official announcement on Facebook.

"Congressional winning from a camp that is corrupted, compromised and lacks conviction on the inside will not happen," he said.

Watson was critical of Fischer's role as a member of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's leadership team, arguing that "health care, securing the border, spending cuts, defunding Planned Parenthood and reforming immigration were always impossible" because of allegiance to McConnell and large campaign donors.

"Deb Fischer's three failing conservative grades by leading conservative publications like New American, Heritage in Action and Conservative Review have left Republicans bewildered and uninspired," Watson said.

Watson, who is co-owner of real estate management and tech companies and managing partner of family farms, was an independent petition candidate for the Senate in 2014.

His mantra in 2018 will be to "make Republicans conservative again," he said.

Watson said he would focus on defending the Constitution, ensuring national security and promoting social conservatism, fiscal control and economic growth.

And, he said, he is anti-abortion and a supporter of Second Amendment gun rights.

"We win if conservative Nebraskans are reinspired and learn the facts of (Fischer's) voting record," Watson said.

Fischer is seeking re-election to a second term.

Jane Raybould of Lincoln is a candidate for the Democratic Senate nomination.

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