Dave White’s pitch in the Republican primary for Pennsylvania governor always opens by describing him as a “blue-collar businessman” from Delaware County. The former union pipe-fitter casts himself as a political outsider.

But White’s connections to Pennsylvania’s Republican politics have been known for years.

Despite the everyman image, White, 60, built a successful heating, ventilation, and air conditioning business big enough that he could afford to loan his campaign $4 million and counting. And he has a long history in politics, including stints as Ridley Township supervisor and five years as a Delaware County Council member.

But White, who lost his Council seat in 2017, doesn’t play up his previous public service in his campaign.

I am not a politician,” White declared in his first campaign ad.

» READ MORE: Get to know the 2022 candidates for Pa. Senate and governor

What is Dave White’s background?

White says he’s a third-generation union pipefitter, working in that field for more than two decades before he started his own company in 2005. It now does $85 million per year in business and employs 85 people, he said.

“It was not inherited,” White said in January. “I started it. I put my money where my mouth is, similarly to what I’m doing in this campaign.”

White has used the four-week pandemic shutdown of his business to lash out at Gov. Tom Wolf, a term-limited Democrat, for COVID-19 restrictions that took an economic toll.

White’s story is working-class Delco, a family with 14 brothers and sisters growing up in Springfield. He attended Delaware County Vocational Technical School and Penn State.

In one campaign ad, he talks about his own family, including his son Brian, who was born with microcephaly and cerebral palsy, and cannot speak or walk. White calls it “a governor’s responsibility to protect those who cannot protect themselves.”

What are Dave White ’s top policy priorities?

White’s policy positions mirror much of mainstream Republican politics — more funding for police, opposing abortion, increasing energy production, and favoring less regulation, lower taxes, and smaller government.

He’s gone all-in on culture war politics, too, vowing to end so-called“critical race theory” — a graduate-level academic field of study about how race factors into American institutions that has become a catch-all term for how race is taught in schools.

» READ MORE: Everything you need to know about voting in Pa.’s May 2022 primary election

White also wants to repeal the 2019 state law that vastly expanded mail voting, which passed with strong Republican support before the party turned on the measure amid baseless attacks by then-President Donald Trump. In a pair of campaign ads in January, White mocked Democrats for complaining about false Republican claims of voter fraud, and vowed to pass legislation to require in-person voting with photo ID.

Like some other Republicans in the primary, White has also used rising gun violence in Philadelphia to promise a law-and-order approach, including appointing a special prosecutor for the city.

Who is backing Dave White?

White won four of five regional caucuses of Republican Party activists earlier this year. Still, the state GOP declined to endorse a candidate for governor.

His campaign received $202,000 in the first quarter of 2022 from PA Future Fund, a political action committee run by Bob Asher, a former member of the Republican National Committee and long-time Pennsylvania power player. PA Future Fund consistently ranks in the top 10 for political spending in the state.

White has strong labor support for a Republican, something opponents have tried to use against him. His campaign finance reports list union donations from electricians, plumbers and pipefitters, steamfitters, and sprinkler fitters.

During a Pennsylvania Leadership Conference forum, White was asked if he supports ending a mandate on prevailing wages, which prevents workers on state projects that cost more than $25,000 from being replaced with workers who are paid less. White said politicians should stop blaming workers and should focus on reducing regulations.

“The problem isn’t the workers in Pennsylvania,” he said. “The problem is the politicians in Pennsylvania.”

What else should I know?

Former U.S. Attorney Bill McSwain, another GOP candidate, has tried to weaponize White’s union support, suggesting that many of the labor groups who gave him money also donated to the campaigns of President Joe Biden and state Attorney General Josh Shapiro, the only Democrat running for governor.

That came in response to White’s television ad touting former President Donald Trump’s stinging non-endorsement of McSwain, in which he called McSwain a “coward” and called him out as one candidate he wouldn’t support.

White’s ad called McSwain a “puppet” of Sen. Pat Toomey, the Republican who had supported McSwain for U.S. attorney and later earned his party’s wrath by voting to convict Trump in his second impeachment trial.