Republican U.S. Senate candidate John Raese said the federal minimum wage is an outdated and unnecessary concept that should be abolished, while his opponent says the stance shows how out of touch Raese is with working West Virginians.
Raese, a multimillionaire running against Democratic Gov. Joe Manchin, has long said the minimum wage isn't working. It was created by the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, and Raese called it "archaic" in an interview with ABC News' Top Line posted Tuesday.
"It didn't solve any problems then and it hasn't solved any problems in 50 years," he said.
"The minimum wage is not something that you want to stay on as a permanent basis," Raese continued. "For example, if you have a minimum wage job, you don't stay there 20 or 30 years. You don't put your children through college working on minimum wage."
Government should stop micromanaging the economy, he said.
"You don't want government to set price controls, you don't want government to set wage controls," he said. "It's an archaic system that frankly has not worked."
Manchin, a popular governor serving his second term, seized on Raese's stance against minimum wage last week, launching an ad that accused the Morgantown businessman of being out of touch.
The ad also cited Raese's past support of a 23 percent national sales tax and allowing some private investment of Social Security funds.
West Virginia hasn't sent a Republican to the Senate since 1958, but the race between Raese and Manchin is tight. The GOP is spending millions on ads trying to tie Manchin the Democratic-controlled White House and Congress, hoping to snag the seat held for more than 50 years by the late Sen. Robert C. Byrd.
Raese has also said in recent interviews the he supports abolishing the federal Departments of Energy and Education, and the Internal Revenue Service. To CNN, he joked that his views are right of the Tea Party.