JUNEAU (AP) — Republican U.S. Senate candidate Dan Sullivan said he doesn’t support raising the federal minimum wage but backs a state initiative to raise Alaska’s minimum wage.
Sullivan, in a statement, said Alaskans know best when it comes to strengthening the state’s economy and supporting its workers and businesses. He said continued efforts are also needed to support Alaska’s energy sector, streamline state and federal regulations and make the tax system more competitive.
His position on the state minimum wage was reported by the Wall Street Journal.
Voters in November will decide a ballot measure that would raise Alaska’s minimum wage of $7.75 an hour by $2 over two years and have it adjusted for inflation in subsequent years.
In rapid-fire questioning during a primary debate, Sullivan said he didn’t support the initiative. On Monday, critics — including the campaign of Democratic U.S. Sen. Mark Begich — accused Sullivan of flip-flopping.
The Alaska AFL-CIO, in a release, called his latest statement supporting the initiative an attempt to pander to voters.
“Dan Sullivan appears to be able to read polls and knows that opposition to the wage increase might have helped him in a closed primary, but it hurts his appeal to general election voters,” the president of the union, Vince Beltrami, said in a statement. “Sullivan is playing politics with people’s livelihoods, and it’s reprehensible.”
Sullivan spokesman Mike Anderson said Sullivan came to his position after speaking to and meeting with Alaskans on the campaign trail.