'Constitutional populist' may try to grab GOP nomination for governor
HARRISBURG — An unemployed former disc jockey who bills himself a “constitutional populist” is trying to gather support to win the Republican nomination for governor next year.
Tom Lineaweaver, 57, of Myerstown in Lebanon County said he won't make a decision until January, when he evaluates whether he has the volunteers needed to oppose incumbent Republican Gov. Tom Corbett, 64, of Shaler in May.
He said in an interview that he will need help setting up a campaign finance committee to raise money for the contest.
“I'd like to win,” Lineaweaver said as Corbett formally began his re-election campaign in Pittsburgh. “I know I have a slim chance.”
He is posting about his candidacy on Facebook.
“I'm getting support every day,” said Lineaweaver, who has worked as a dishwasher and taxi driver.
Lineaweaver accused Corbett of being a proponent of “big government.”
As an example, Lineaweaver cited Corbett's plan to expand Medicaid, even though Corbett filed a lawsuit to overturn Obamacare when he was state attorney general.
“He is taking (federal) money from Obama,” Lineaweaver said.
The Supreme Court ruling on Obamacare last year upheld the law but allowed states to accept or reject an expanded Medicaid program. Corbett proposed using federal money to buy private insurance for the poor, requiring them to provide proof of a job search or job training and pay toward premiums. His plan requires federal approval.
Lineaweaver says he has had numerous medical issues since the 1970s. Though he rails against “entitlement” programs, Lineaweaver said he receives Supplemental Security Income for a disability. “I don't like it,” he said, adding he has no choice.
Brad Bumsted is Trib Total Media's state Capitol reporter. Reach him at 717-787-1405 or firstname.lastname@example.org.