SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — A Republican state senator has announced an independent run for Illinois governor.

Sam McCann of Plainview announced Thursday that he will challenge incumbent Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner and Democratic hopeful J.B. Pritzker. His running mate is Riverton resident Aaron Merreighn.

The 48-year-old MCcann was elected to the state Senate in 2010. He says Rauner has “abandoned” core GOP values — especially with Rauner recently signing laws to expand public funding for abortions and limit law enforcement interactions with immigrants.

Rauner is vulnerable with conservatives. Those same issues were the launching pad for a primary election challenge to Rauner by Rep. Jeanne Ives of Wheaton. She came within three percentage points of defeating Rauner.

McCann and Merreighn must gather 25,000 valid signatures to make the ballot as Conservative Party candidates.

(© Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)