Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
October 21, 2014

Missouri: GOP Senate Candidates Don’t Know State’s Minimum Wage

Memo to candidates — especially rich ones — running for the federal office: know what the minimum wage is in your state.

Today it was clear that the three declared GOP candidates running for Senate in Missouri didn’t get the memo, giving easy ammunition to Democrats looking to attack the opponents of vulnerable Sen. Claire McCaskill (D).

At a debate on St. Louis’ KMOX radio station today, Rep. Todd Akin (R-Mo.), businessman John Brunner and former state treasurer Sarah Steelman all flubbed the question of what the minimum wage is.

For the record, the Show-Me State’s minimum wage for 2012 is $7.25 an hour.

Brunner, who is partially self-funding his campaign from significant personal wealth, said he didn’t know the answer. Steelman, who contributed $400,000 to her campaign in the third quarter of last year, guessed it was $7.50 an hour. Akin said it was “somewhere in that $6 or $7 [range]” but said he didn’t know the exact number.

“I don’t think the government should be setting prices on wages in any way, shape, or form,” Akin added.

An Akin aide didn’t respond to an email or a voicemail seeking additional comment.

Steelman responded to Roll Call with a statement. “I have worked for minimum wage. I have also started a small business. Many small business owners today put less than minimum wage in their own pockets because of Senator McCaskill and President [Barack] Obama’s policies. Lets talk about that,” she said.

Brunner spokesman Todd Abrajano told Roll Call that Brunner believes the focus should be on creating a better “environment” for businesses to prosper, rather than just on the issue of the minimum wage.

“John has always paid his employees more than the minimum wage,” Abrajano said.

The Missouri Democratic Party posted the video of the exchange online, embedded above.

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