Some GOP Senate Candidates Question the Minimum Wage

It's tough to imagine Congress seeking to eliminate the federal minimum wage anytime soon, but a couple Republican Senate candidates seem to have endorsed the idea, and Democrats plan to criticize them for it.


Alaska's Joe Miller says minimum-wage levels should be left entirely to the states, pointing out that Alaska's minimum wage is higher than federal law requires. He told ABC News today that the minimum wage is "not an enumerated power" and said, "That is clearly up to the states. We believe -- the state of Alaska has a minimum wage which is higher than the federal level because our state leaders have made that determination. The minimum level again should be the state's decision."

In West Virginia, candidate John Raese's campaign manager told the Charleston Daily Mail that "John does not support the minimum wage--and the jobless rate in this country is a perfect example of why." His Democratic opponent, Gov. Joe Manchin, is already airing TV ads that attack Raese for the position.

Former WWE CEO Linda McMahon, meanwhile, recently appeared to suggest that minimum wages are something we should revisit, conceptually. "We have got minimum wages in states, we have got minimum wages in the (federal) government, and I think we ought to look at all of those issues in terms of what mandates are being placed on businesses and can they afford them. I think we should get input from our business community," McMahon told The Day. [UPDATE: The McMahon campaign has already pushed back on an impression that McMahon wants to lower the minimum wage; a campaign spokesman said today that McMahon believes all legislation warrants review. Democrat Richard Blumenthal, meanwhile, is airing an ad accusing her of wanting Congress to consider lowering it.]

UPDATE: A Democratic official says that Democrats are also planning to criticize Washington's Dino Rossi for his stances on the minimum wage. Rossi has not called for a lower minimum wage for adults, but he previously backed a lower, tiered minimum wage for teenagers, and he supported freezing automatic state-minimum-wage increases if Washington's unemployment rate climbed above the national average. As Rossi challenged Gov. Christine Gregoire in 2008, the Democratic governor attacked him for his minimum-wage stance in an ad that the Seattle Times deemed "misleading." Rossi supports the federal minimum wage, according to a campaign spokesperson.
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Chris Good is a political reporter for ABC News. He was previously an associate editor at The Atlantic and a reporter for The Hill.

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