Former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty, who was once a leading candidate for the 2012 GOP presidential nomination, on Wednesday became the rare Republican to call for his party to increase the minimum wage.

Appearing on MSNBC's "Morning Joe," Pawlenty said Republicans should support some kind of minimum wage increase if they want to appeal to working-class voters.

"I also think, by the way, the Republicans should support a reasonable increase in the minimum wage," Pawlenty said. "If you're going to talk the talk about being for the middle class and the working-person, if we have a minimum wage, it should be reasonably adjusted from time to time."

Pawlenty is now the head of the Financial Services Roundtable. His 2012 campaign ended early after he failed to gain support in the Iowa straw poll.

As governor, Pawlenty signed one minimum wage increase into law but later vetoed another one. The first one upped the wage to $6.15. The latter would have brought it to $7.75 in 2009.

Minnesota's minimum wage has long been one of the lowest in the country, but the state legislature recently increased it.