Reid Rasner’s Bodyguard Runs Against Freedom Caucus Incumbent In Platte County

Guernsey Fire Chief Jeff Thomas, who also works for U.S. Senate candidate Reid Rasner as a bodyguard, is running against Platte County Freedom Caucus incumbent Jeremy Haroldson for the Wyoming House.

Leo Wolfson

July 01, 20248 min read

State Rep. Jeremy Haroldosn, R-Wheatland, and Guernsey Fire Chief Jeff Thomas.
State Rep. Jeremy Haroldosn, R-Wheatland, and Guernsey Fire Chief Jeff Thomas. (Cowboy State Daily Staff)

Jeff Thomas’ capacities as a volunteer bodyguard for Republican U.S. Senate candidate Reid Rasner and fire chief of Guernsey are to serve and protect.

He doesn’t believe incumbent Freedom Caucus Republican Rep. Jeremy Haroldson of Wheatland is doing either of those things consistently enough for Platte County as a whole. So, he’s running for Haroldson’s House District 4 seat.

“I saw the lack of representation for all the other towns in the county and I just really want to serve the community better,” Thomas said. “If I had his position, my main goal would be my constituents in every town and every community and every rural area in Platte County.”

Haroldson, vice chair of the Wyoming Freedom Caucus, is running for a third term in office.

“I feel like I have a pretty good grasp on the process, and I’ve got at least a few years left in me to continue to bring sustainable change to the state,” Haroldson said.

As a volunteer, Thomas said he helps bodyguard Rasner when the candidate is in his area. He offered the service to Rasner as a friend in a showing of moral support.

"Just one friend helping out another," he said.

Thomas said he doesn't know if Rasner have received any threats along the campaign trail.

The Water Tower

Haroldson ran into a little controversy in March when he, like the other Freedom Caucus members, voted against the biennial state budget. The budget contained $2 million to help replace a failing water tower in Wheatland.

Gov. Mark Gordon used Haroldson’s vote against the overall budget as one of the reasons he gave to issuing a line-item veto of the water tower money out of the budget.

“Following the lead of local legislators who voted against the budget, thereby indicating their regard for the inclusion of this project in their budget, I have removed the provision,” Gordon wrote in his veto letter.

Haroldson went on to call Gordon’s veto “reckless” and “vindictive.”

Thomas is on Gordon’s side about the Wheatland water tower and said he was disappointed with Haroldson’s vote against the budget.

“You had what you needed, sometimes it’s better to take the win. You got what you needed for your constituency,” Thomas said. “Even if you didn’t completely agree with the budget, don’t get into an arguing match, don’t get into a pissing match with the governor. Take the win, live to fight another day.”

Gordon somewhat reversed course on the matter in June, pushing for $1.06 million more in grant money for the water tower, which was approved.

Although this water tower built in 2001 was supposed to have a life expectancy of 50 years, it's badly leaking and close to failing.
Although this water tower built in 2001 was supposed to have a life expectancy of 50 years, it's badly leaking and close to failing. (Town of Wheatland)

Who’s Haroldson?

Since taking office in 2021, Haroldson has taken hardline conservative stances on the Second Amendment, abortion and taxation.

If reelected, Haroldson said he wants to continue strengthening and clarifying Wyoming’s Second Amendment protections. Haroldson’s bill banning gun-free zones in Wyoming was passed by the Legislature but vetoed by the governor.

As a member of the House Judiciary Committee, he also wants to continue working on reforms for the state’s judicial system.

Haroldson believes Wyoming’s foster care system needs improvement and better training.

The current system pushes prospective foster care parents away before they even start, he said. He also believes better reimbursement measures should be put in place for these parents.

“Really seek out a way that we can properly address some of these really sad situations in a way that we preserve parental rights but at the same time do what’s best for the child,” he said.

He also wants to revisit the state’s approach to deciding who it incarcerates so that people who have truly reformed and restored their lives while in custody have a legitimate chance to be released.

A former employee of the Laramie River Station coal-fired power plant, Haroldson also wants Wyoming to strengthen its energy policy by making baseload generation a priority, which he believes is the key to America being a first-world nation.

Baseload generation ​​creates 24/7 power to the energy grid by constantly supporting the increment of demand no matter the time of day or day of the week.

Haroldson believes alternative energies cannot adequately support this type of generation and that coal-fired generation needs a comeback on the heels of new technology.

“If we don’t figure out how to make a long term, sustainable baseload generation we won’t have independence for long in many areas,” he said.

On property taxes, Haroldson wants to study Wyoming’s entire taxation system so that the state can still be supported, but so are its people. He’s not opposed to a proposal Rep. Steve Harshman, R-Casper, brought last session to remove most property taxes in Wyoming in lieu of raising the state’s sales tax rate.

“It just needs a deeper dive than what we had time for last session,” he said. “It takes time, and that’s what we didn’t have this last session with ideas like Harshman’s.”

He also wants to look at tax reduction options when the state has a particularly strong revenue year.

Haroldson is confident the farther right Freedom Caucus is going to pick up seats in the upcoming election.

“People are ready for representation that actually listens to them,” he said. “That’s become very obvious over the last couple years.”

Who’s Thomas?

Thomas is a fifth-generation Wyoming native with 36 years of public service experience. His grandfather served in the Legislature in the late 1950s.

The primary reason Thomas is running is because he doesn’t believe Haroldson is effectively representing all of Platte County. Thomas said when Rasner encouraged him to run, he couldn’t look back.

“He kind of floated the idea to me once and I gave it some thought and I said, ‘You know what? You’re right,’” Thomas said. Haroldson “at least needs some competition.”

Thomas said Haroldson has been absent from most public meetings in Guernsey, an issue he hasn’t attempted to reach out to Haroldson about. Guernsey is the second largest community in Platte County with a population of around 1,100.

“He just doesn’t seem to be as present,” Thomas said.

During the most recent legislative session, a bill passed into law allowing volunteer firefighters to qualify for the state’s health insurance plan. Although Thomas said this bill was well-intentioned, it’s unrealistic for most volunteer firefighters to participate because of its high cost.

“Most of these guys don’t make a lot of money because, unfortunately, the guys who make a lot of money in the county don’t volunteer for things like that,” Thomas said. “They’re too busy with their own lives and their own professions.”

Thomas wants to see a more affordable option provided for volunteer firefighters and more funding as a whole for fire and EMS services. In Guernsey, the town could not afford to keep its ambulance service going.

Thomas believes illegal immigration is impacting law enforcement in Wyoming because of the influx of the highly potent narcotic Fentanyl. By raising wages and increasing grants, he believes it could help with employee recruitment and retention for law enforcement agencies.

“The poor police chiefs and sheriffs, they’re all understaffed and they can’t get anybody in there,” Thomas said.

He also wants to find a way to eliminate or severely decrease property taxes in Wyoming. Thomas said he’s not opposed to slightly increasing the severance tax in Wyoming to help achieve this goal.

Thomas said he’s not opposed to alternative energy, but wants these industries funded by public demand rather than federal and state subsidies. He also questions their reliability for current levels of energy production.

“If we can make it functional on its own without government subsidies, great. I’m all for it,” he said. “But when you have to subsidize something and you’re creating electric vehicles, the electricity still has to be produced by coal-fired power plants.”

Thomas sees Laramie River as the standard for what energy production should look like in America.

“It’s one of the cleanest coal-powered power plants in the world, so if we could just get all the other power plants to go after their model and decrease emissions the best you can, I still think our future is in oil, gas and coal,” he said.

The District

Haroldson won his reelection campaign in 2022, beating Independent candidate Dan Brecht by about 1,100 votes in the general election.

He hasn’t faced a Republican primary challenger since taking down former state legislator Dan Kirkbride in 2020 by about 230 votes. Kirkbride had represented the district since 2013.

The winner of this year’s Republican primary in HD 4 will take on Democrat Charles Randolph in the general election.

Editor's note: This story has been clarified that Thomas isn't a paid bodyguard for the Rasner campaign, he volunteers to bodyguard the candidate when he's in the area.

Leo Wolfson can be reached at

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Leo Wolfson

Politics and Government Reporter