Reid Rasner Seems To Be Making Everyone Mad

Wyoming Senate challenger Reid Rasner has not only incurred the wrath of Rep. Harriet Hageman but many other conservatives are calling him out for his questionable campaign tactics.

Leo Wolfson

May 03, 20245 min read

Reid Rasner speaks at the 2024 Wyoming Republican Party Convention in Cheyenne.
Reid Rasner speaks at the 2024 Wyoming Republican Party Convention in Cheyenne. (Matt Idler for Cowboy State Daily)

Wyoming Senate challenger Reid Rasner has not only incurred the wrath of Rep. Harriet Hageman but many other conservatives are calling him out for his questionable campaign tactics.

U.S. Senate candidate Reid Rasner has some ground to make up with Wyoming’s leading conservatives.

After news broke Thursday that Rasner, who’s running against Sen. John Barrasso in the Republican Primary, was sent a cease and desist letter from U.S. Rep. Harriet Hageman’s campaign demanding he take down social media posts that insinuate her endorsement, a few other leading Wyoming Republicans have expressed similar feelings.

One of those is state Rep. John Bear, R-Gillette, chairman of the Wyoming Freedom Caucus, who said he warned the Rasner campaign he would be speaking to the media if he didn’t take down a social media post with Bear in it.

Conservative firebrand Rep. Jeanette Ward, R-Casper, made a similar post, saying he did the same with photos of other state legislators.

Bear said he’s been watching Rasner’s campaign from afar and that the only reason he was talking with Rasner when the photo was taken was to learn about him.

“I was trying to find out who is this guy? What does he stand for?” Bear told Cowboy State Daily.

Some also accused Rasner of making a misleading post about former President Donald Trump endorsing him, when in reality the post was intended to show Rasner endorsing Trump.

After Hageman, Bear is one of the most prominent faces of the farther right wing of the Wyoming Republican Party, and certainly someone Rasner would benefit in gaining support from to challenge Barrasso. It’s this wing of the party that Rasner has been attempting to curry favor with most, as other Republicans are largely supportive of Barrasso.

But instead of building support for himself, Rasner appears to be building unified opposition to his campaign among unlikely political bedfellows like Natrona County residents Shane True and Dan Sabrosky.

Not Impressed

Bear said he’s not impressed with Rasner’s campaign tactics.

“The fact he would do to myself what he did to Representative Hageman and President Trump, I find it definitely misleading,” Bear said. “His level of honesty I find difficult to support.”

Wyoming Republican Party National Committeeman Corey Steinmetz shared a similar story, saying Rasner hadn’t taken down a photo he had requested he delete.

Who Is He?

Rasner, a Casper native who’s lived parts of his adult life in other states, was relatively unknown in Wyoming politics when he announced his campaign last August. However, there was a window, albeit small, for him to engage in a competitive race against Barrasso.

Barrasso’s support had declined with some Wyoming conservatives over the past few years because of his alliance with former Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, and votes on certain bills. Trump, who’s immensely popular in Wyoming, even called Barrasso a “flunky” during a radio interview in early 2023.

But this March, Trump endorsed Barrasso’s campaign for Republican Senate Whip, giving a broadly-phrased message of support that could also be construed as an endorsement for his Senate campaign, although Rasner says otherwise.

Experience Helps

Although Bear said Rasner’s talking the talk with a conservative platform, he worries there’s little else to trust about the candidate, as he had no political history of any kind in Wyoming before entering the race or voting record that can be referred to.

A number of other conservatives made similar complaints on Facebook and said this drew particular concern when combined with his social media behavior.

Although it’s uncommon in modern politics, a lack of voting record is not unheard of, with Trump himself never holding any prior public office before being elected president in 2016.

Bear said although the lack of prior experience isn’t an automatic disqualifier in his mind, it also doesn’t help Rasner’s cause. He said Rasner would have a better chance running for a lower position such as county commissioner or state legislator, and is curious why he chose to run for U.S. Senate in his first campaign.

Bear also emphasized that he wants to see more younger candidates like Rasner running for office and doesn’t want the backlash he’s facing to discourage other people.

“What he’s doing is ugly politics,” Bear said.

Many of Wyoming’s most well-known politicos built their current status over an extended period of time.

Hageman was very involved in Laramie County GOP politics and a delegate at the 2016 Republican National Convention, in addition to running for governor in 2018.

Barrasso and fellow U.S. Sen. Cynthia Lummis served in the Legislature before entering Congress, and Lummis also served as state treasurer.

Gov. Mark Gordon also served as treasurer, and Secretary of State Chuck Gray served three terms in the Legislature. Superintendent of Public Instruction Megan Degenfelder had never run for office, but previously held a high-ranking position under former Superintendent Jillian Balow.

Name Recognition

Bear said he isn’t aware of any other candidates planning to enter the Republican primary race and said Rasner’s presence alone makes it more difficult for any candidate to have a chance against Barrasso at this point.

For better or worse, Rasner has got his name out to the public during this campaign season, which could possibly give him success in a future campaign down the road, as name recognition is critical to electoral success. But Rasner hasn’t expressed any interest in future races and said he’ll release his official list of endorsements this month.

It’s safe to say Hageman and Bear won’t be on it.

Leo Wolfson can be reached at

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Leo Wolfson

Politics and Government Reporter