Todd Watson: Nebraska U.S. Senate Candidate Profiles

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October 14, 2014 - 6:30am

Mike Johanns’ decision not to run for another term created a wide-open U.S. Senate race in Nebraska. As part of our Campaign Connection 2014 coverage, Mike Tobias of NET News begins profiles of the four candidates on the November ballot with a look at the politics and background of independent Todd Watson.


Independent U.S. Senate candidate Todd Watson (Photo courtesy Watson campaign)

 


Watson (L) talks with KRVN news director Dave Schroeder (Photo by Mike Tobias, NET News)

 


Watson visits with customers at Madeline's Cafe in Lexington. (Photo by Mike Tobias, NET News)

 


ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Watson for U.S. Senate web site

Watch the NET News U.S. Senate Debate, held Sept. 14 in North Platte

Federal Election Commission (campaign finance information)

 


Visit the NET News Campaign Connection 2014 web page for more election coverage.

 


SENATE CANDIDATE PROFILES SERIES

Todd Watson begins a full day of campaigning at KRVN radio in Lexington, Nebraska. It is the first campaign stop of a day that will later take him to Holdrege and McCook. Watson’s here for an interview with KRVN news director Dave Schroeder. He answers questions about himself, and issues like the farm bill and ISIS, all from the perspective of an independent, non-partisan candidate.

“You have a choice this year that does not have allegiance to the money, not to Wall Street, nor Washington,” Watson tells Schroeder. “Just an allegiance to the Nebraska people, with a genuine love for the Nebraska people.”

Watson is a 38-year-old businessman from Lincoln. He has a master’s degree in accounting and worked for a short time in this field before deciding to become an entrepreneur. He has started or managed several property management, technology, and staffing businesses.

“I know what I’m very good at,” Watson said. “I’m good at administration. I can sit down with any individual and pretty much discern their motivations, their hearts, their desires, and then I can figure out who I need to trust on what issues, and so I’m confident in my ability. I’m a CPA, emphasis in taxation. I’m very comfortable in monetary, business, economic, taxation issues.”

Watson is also a relative newcomer to politics. He has never run for office, but in the 1990s he worked in Washington as a staffer for Nebraska Republican Congressman Jon Christensen. Watson describes himself in his younger years as “sold out GOP,” with elephants in his room and a passion for watching conservative commentator Rush Limbaugh. But frustrated nationally with Republicans, he switched to non-partisan status a few years ago.

“Still a strong conservative,” Watson explained. “I’ve never left being a conservative. I don’t think anyone will deny that.”

A conservative philosophy is evident in much of his politics. Watson says the Affordable Care Act, commonly called Obamacare, should be repealed or defunded. He supports smaller government and the right to bear arms, and believes marriage should be between one man and one woman. On immigration, Watson says after borders are secured we should work on a path to legal status or residency, but not citizenship, for illegal immigrants who have been in the U.S. for a decade and have good records.

When asked about a signature piece of legislation, if elected? “Balanced budget amendment or Simpson-Bowles (a bi-partisan proposal for federal debt reduction),” he said. “Just a bi-partisan plan to attack the debt, deficit, unfunded liabilities for the long term.”

Watson is also quick to say we need to “get our banking system in check,” saying Congress has delegated too much authority to Wall Street and banking institutions. “So we have to get back a constitutional recovery with more influence, more oversight by Congress over those policies,” he said.

In addition, when Watson is talking about his campaign, he is clear faith and religion are a big reason he decided to run.

“All these guys at the beginning of last year when I got in the race, it’s all about money and how we’re going to fix, money, money, money, and money this, and health care costs this money,” Watson said, “and we needed to get religious issues back on the forefront. Everyone thinks we can fix ourselves and I don’t believe in we fix ourselves. We need some spiritual help.”

It will likely be an uphill challenge for Watson. Support for independent candidates has been minimal in past Nebraska elections. His resources are limited and much of his campaign is self-financed; and that’s the way he wants it.

“If I cared more about winning I would be a lot different than I would if I cared about being right. I would go take the money from the banks, I would run to the oil companies, I would run to Hollywood, I would do smear campaigns,” Watson said. “But all these things to me is not what’s needed, and most importantly to me is my conscience in front of God, my reputation and how I treat other people, and so I don’t believe in compromise like a lot of other people do.”

Discussion

 

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