Back in March, the three Republican U.S. Senate candidates in Missouri got together for a debate, and none of the three could accurately say what the minimum wage is. I figured, right about then, every campaign consultant for every Senate candidate would take their boss aside, say “Remember, if anyone asks, it’s $7.25 an hour.”
Apparently, I assumed wrong.
In this video, Republican Rick Berg, the U.S. Senate candidate in a competitive North Dakota race, was asked what the minimum wage is in the state. He didn’t know and referred the voter to a staffer, who said it’s the same as the federal minimum wage, though no one seemed to know what that is, either.
At least in the Missouri debate, the three Republicans could say they’re not currently in office, so have a slightly better excuse for being ignorant. Berg, however, is a sitting member of Congress and a former state legislator – who’s voted against minimum-wage increases.
Why should voters care about something like this? Perhaps because the minimum wage’s purchasing power is at a historic low, and with so many low-income Americans struggling, and with some GOP officials pushing to eliminate the minimum wage altogether, it matters that a millionaire Republican hasn’t bothered to even learn what the wage is worth.