Casper Man Launches Longshot Attempt To Unseat Barrasso For U.S. Senate

Casper resident Reid Rasner, who came in 7th place when he ran for city council in Las Vegas in 2017, officially announced his campaign on Tuesday to unseat U.S. Sen. John Barrasso in 2024. Barrasso is considered a frontrunner to replace Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell should he step down.

Leo Wolfson

August 15, 20236 min read

Sen. John Barrasso, left, and Reid Radner, who announced Tuesday he's challenging Barrasso for his seat in 2024.
Sen. John Barrasso, left, and Reid Radner, who announced Tuesday he's challenging Barrasso for his seat in 2024. (Cowboy State Daily Staff)

Casper Republican Reid Rasner said he turned down two requests from political groups to run for office before he started seriously considering taking on Wyoming’s senior congressional delegation member U.S. Sen. John Barrasso in the 2024 election.

By the time the third request came around, he said the idea started marinating in his head.

“I saw the support I was receiving in the counties around the state and started considering it,” he said.

A few weeks ago, Rasner pulled the trigger and decided to enter the race for the Republican nomination in next year’s primary.

Rasner, a financial advisor and Casper native, made it official Tuesday. He’s the first candidate to officially enter the race.

Although Barrasso hasn’t officially announced he’ll seek reelection to his third full term, many in Wyoming political circles believe he’s expected to do so. 

Barrasso hasn’t shied away from his leadership ambitions in the U.S. Senate. As the No. 3 Republican in the Senate, Barrasso is considered a frontrunner to replace Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky should he step down. 

Rasner, who describes himself as “a dynamic individual,” is a newcomer to the political scene with no prior experience serving in office other than a seventh-place finish when he ran for Las Vegas City Council in 2017. 

But to Rasner, being an outsider is a strength. His campaign goal is to bring a fresh perspective to Capitol Hill that better represents Wyoming residents.

“People are excited to have someone actually representing Wyoming in D.C.,” Rasner said. “I want to make sure the ranchers are taken care of. Energy production is being taken care of. That’s been something that’s been missing for a long time.”

Term Limits

Rasner’s most passionate about term limits. He’s signed a pledge with advocacy group U.S. Term Limits to support this cause if elected, an issue he considers bipartisan.

“We need fresh ideas and new perspectives,” he said. “I truly have my finger on the heartbeat of what Wyoming people want.”

It’s a direct lob at Barrasso, who Rasner calls “a career politician” and has served in the U.S. Senate since 2007.

Rasner describes himself as more conservative than Barrasso and unbeholden to the bureaucracy in Washington, D.C.

Barrasso has won every one of his elections by a large margin. But as the populist wing of the Republican Party in Wyoming has grown, which tends to favor grassroots candidates with less experience, Barrasso’s support within the party has started to gradually chip away. 

In April 2022, the Park County Republican Party sent a letter reprimanding Barrasso for a vote he made, and many members of the county party mocked him at a meeting where this was discussed, referring to him as “one-vote Barrasso.” About a month later, Barrasso received a few boos when he spoke at the state GOP convention.

Another chink in Barrasso’s armor came in January when former President Donald Trump, who remains popular in Wyoming, referred to Barrasso in a radio interview as a “flunky.”

Rasner said Barrasso is too much in cahoots with McConnell and the Washington guard and doesn’t represent Wyoming interests.

“I understand the people of Wyoming and truly want to represent them,” Rasner said. “I hear what the constituents are saying and want to bring that back to D.C.”

Other Views

Aside from his stance on term limits, Rasner appears to share many of the viewpoints held by U.S. Rep. Harriet Hageman. Rasner doesn’t know if that’s the case because he finds himself incomparable with today’s politicians. 

Rasner said he opposes endless wars and wants a more thoughtful and measured approach to American foreign policy that prioritizes diplomacy and peaceful resolutions. He believes in a Wyoming-first and America-first agenda.

“I am unapologetically America-first,” he said. “I want to serve Wyoming’s interests first and America’s interests first.”

Furthermore, Rasner also believes big pharma should be held accountable for its actions and wants greater transparency and fair treatment in the pharmaceutical industry.

Rasner also said he wants to end government and big tech censorship of conservative voices in social media, believing in the importance of preserving diverse viewpoints in the public discourse. This has been an issue Hageman has paid particular attention to during her first months in office.

Rasner also believes there is a two-tiered justice system operating in the United States and that all people should be treated fairly and impartially under the law, regardless of their social status or political affiliations.

On Tuesday, he issued a press release condemning the new indictments filed against Trump, to which he said have been met with a “deafening silence” from Senate Republicans.

“Their lack of action is disappointing and, frankly, bewildering,” Rasner said. “If they won't stand up now, why should they continue to represent us in 2024? Where the heck is John Barrasso?”

War Chest

One of the biggest challenges Rasner will have is competing financially with Barrasso. As of June 30, Barrasso had a $5.8 million balance in his campaign account, according to Federal Election Commission filings.

But Rasner said he’s not concerned about that, saying that only about 2% of Barrasso’s donations came from Wyoming residents.

“I think I’m going to do just fine with finances,” he said. 

After having met privately with constituents in Sheridan and Buffalo earlier this week, Rasner said he feels confident he could raise the same amount of money Barrasso has raised from Wyoming — about $150,000 — in a week after “a couple of phone calls.”

“People are very excited for this campaign and are very excited about the future of Wyoming,” he said.

Rasner is planning a “We The People Tour” where he will engage weekly town halls across the state. On Tuesday, he held a campaign launch meet-and-greet at his business in Casper, Omnivest Financial, which he founded in 2019. He said on Facebook, the event would feature “a delightful atmosphere for networking and camaraderie.”

“I am a financial advisor, not a politician,” he said. 

Rasner said he plans to reveal more details about his tour and which political action committees approached him to run in the coming weeks.

“We’re on the ground running,” he said.

Leo Wolfson can be reached at

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Leo Wolfson

Politics and Government Reporter