Son Of Former Wyoming Governor Challenges Freedom Caucus Incumbent For House

Rob Geringer, the son of former Wyoming Gov. Jim Geringer, announced Monday he is running for the state House against incumbent Ben Hornok. Geringer said Republicans are squandering their supermajority in the Legislature by fixating on small differences among themselves.

Leo Wolfson

May 06, 20246 min read

Geringer and Hornok 5 7 24
(Cowboy State Daily Staff)

The Geringer name goes hand-in-hand with Wyoming politics because of former Gov. Jim Geringer’s place as the 30th governor of the Cowboy State from 1995-2003.

Now Cheyenne resident Rob Geringer, the former governor’s son, is taking the family baton in politics having recently announced his Republican campaign for state House District 42 in the Legislature.

His Own Man

Not once in Geringer’s 864-word press release announcing his campaign does he mention his father being a former governor. Geringer told Cowboy State Daily this was on purpose and rooted in a sense of self-reliance his parents taught him growing up.

“I very much respect what he did while he was in office, (but) I am a different individual,” Geringer said. “I’m my own individual, so I’m not trying to run on his coattails. I’m running for myself.”

Geringer is running against state Rep. Ben Hornok, R-Cheyenne, who is seeking a second term in office.

Hornok wouldn’t talk with Cowboy State Daily for this story other than to confirm he’s running for reelection. He is aligned with the farther right Wyoming Freedom Caucus.

Who’s Geringer?

Geringer grew up in Wheatland and graduated from the University of Wyoming, where he earned a degree in civil engineering.

After living in Colorado for a short period of time, he and his wife moved back to Wyoming upon the birth of their first child.

Geringer has worked as a professional engineer on projects involving roads, water, coal bed methane, land development, and civil and residential construction, was the city engineer for Cheyenne and Public Works Director for Laramie County.

Geringer said he misses the days of the 1990s and early 2000s when the Legislature was a more civil body.

“It’s unfortunate that there’s kind of a lack of common courtesy at times,” he said about recent infighting and acrimony among members.

Geringer has already spent a significant amount of his life on the periphery of politics, as his dad was in the Legislature while he was growing up and made his first run for governor when he was in college.

He believes Republicans are squandering their supermajority in the state Senate and House by fixating on small differences among themselves.

Geringer considers himself a conservative, but said he can work across the aisle by listening and trying to understand different viewpoints from his own.

“We’re at a point where we need to start looking at what we can do together rather than what the differences are between us,” he said.

He wants to strengthen Wyoming’s energy, affordable housing and environmental sectors to raise the quality of life for the state as a whole.

‘We Can’t Be Stuck Where We’re At’

Geringer wouldn’t directly comment on Hornok’s performance, but described himself as “a leader who understands there’s not just one way to look at a problem or an issue.”

As an example, he mentioned a recent discussion in the Joint Corporations, Elections and Political Subdivisions Committee about reducing regulation on affordable housing and redevelopment on existing properties to help spur growth. Geringer said this would be the exact kind of alternative approach he would bring to the Legislature if elected.

He also mentioned the BLM’s proposed Resource Management Plan for the Rock Springs area as a reason why Wyoming should push back and protect itself from federal policies by more strongly advocating for itself and filing lawsuits.

A significant percentage of Wyoming’s public school money comes from energy industry revenue, and Geringer wants the state to explore new uses for coal production given the declining state of that industry.

He also wants the state to continue to support and pursue its legacy energy industries while also exploring new alternative energy approaches such as rare earth minerals and the production of electric vehicles.

“We can’t be stuck where we’re at and think it’s always going to remain the same,” he said. “We can get more efficient, we can develop processes, find other uses for the resources that we have in Wyoming.”

Who’s Hornok?

Hornok has lived in Wyoming since 2006 and runs a construction business.

He has never passed a bill into law, sponsoring various forms of legislation attempting to limit government regulation and increase individual rights.

In 2024, Hornok sponsored legislation that would have allowed for teachers and librarians to be prosecuted for possessing “obscene” materials for educational purposes, and in 2023 brought legislation attempting to target the materials themselves.

This year, he also brought legislation attempting to bring more transparency to payments made by the state to private vendors, and a bill requiring people receiving unemployment benefits in Wyoming to undergo mandatory drug testing.

Hornok is also a staunch fiscal conservative, routinely blasting other Republicans in the more moderate Republican Wyoming Caucus for their spending in the budget, which increased by nearly $2 billion this year. He brought an amendment that would have decreased spending in this year’s budget by 0.5%, but it failed.

“It was these ‘capable Republicans’ that voted for nearly every spending increase and against every proposed budget offset measured to keep the budget from ballooning,” Hornok wrote in an op-ed last week. “But shouldn’t we be cautious about spending increases? Who are the real responsible and reasonable Republicans? More importantly, how will we maintain this spending level in the future?”

He also criticized inflationary measures built into the budget, which will provide the state money to deal with increasing costs in the future, as a loophole that allows state agencies to continue previous frivolous spending.

Hornok routinely offers his opinion on a wide variety of bills on the House floor and often brings amendments to try and make bills better.

Many have blamed members of the Freedom Caucus for contributing to the incivility in the House, but Hornok said these people should look in the mirror.

“Should ‘capable Republican’ legislators who just vote against something because of grudges and personality conflicts start listening to those of us on the outside of political power that have valuable ideas?” Hornok questioned in his op-ed. “I hope so. The good ship Wyoming deserves better captains.”

HD 42 makes up rural Laramie County west of Cheyenne. Before Hornok took office, former Republican legislator Jim Blackburn held the seat since 2014.

Leo Wolfson can be reached at

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Leo Wolfson

Politics and Government Reporter