Gary S. Trauner (born December 15, 1958) is a Wyoming businessman and a two-time unsuccessful Democratic nominee for Wyoming's at-large congressional district (map), his state's lone seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. He was defeated in the 2006 and 2008 general elections by Republicans Barbara Cubin and Cynthia Lummis, respectively.
Trauner lost by 1,012 votes in 2006 to the since retiring incumbent Barbara Cubin of Casper. The election that year was the closest congressional race in Wyoming since 1970. However, this margin was too large to trigger an automatic recount, and Trauner opted not to request one.
On October 13, 2007, Trauner announced that he would again run for the U.S. House. Cubin thereafter announced her retirement because of health problems of her physician husband. Former State Treasurer Cynthia Lummis of Cheyenne won the Republican nomination over the rancher and current state treasurer, Mark Gordon of Buffalo, for the right to succeed Cubin. Lummis then defeated Trauner, 53–43 percent in the general election, but she lost her home county of Laramie, which includes the capital city of Cheyenne.
Trauner holds a bachelor's degree from Colgate University in Hamilton, New York, and an MBA from the Stern School of Business at New York University in New York City. After moving to Wyoming about 1990, he worked in business, co-founding OneWest.net, a regional Internet Service Provider.
A resident of Wilson in southern Teton County, Trauner has served as chairman of the Teton County School District #1 Board of Trustees and the District board of the Aspens Water & Sewer District. He is a member of the Open Range Committee of the Jackson Hole Land Trust. He and his wife, Terry, have two children.
2006 U.S. House campaign
Although Wyoming's Congressional seat is conventionally considered "safe" for Republicans, Trauner ran a strong campaign, raising nearly as much money in the first quarter of 2006 as incumbent Representative Cubin. In the second quarter he raised more money than Cubin and had more cash on hand at the time. By May 2006, a poll had put Trauner within the margin of error. In mid-August, Congressional Quarterly changed their rating of this race from "Republican Favored" to the more competitive "Leans Republican".
Although critical of Cubin, Trauner ran a grassroots campaign as a libertarian Democrat, bucking some prevailing trends in the Democratic policy by speaking against trade protectionism and single-payer universal health care, in addition to supporting Second Amendment gun ownership rights, immigration law enforcement, and what he refers to as "common-sense capitalism." One of Trauner's major issues has been congressional ethics and lobbying reform. Trauner ended up losing 47.8% to Barbara Cubin's 48.3%.
2008 U.S. House campaign
Trauner had fared well in pre-election polls against Lummis but fell far short on election night, despite receiving the endorsement of popular Governor Dave Freudenthal, as Wyoming again supported Republican candidates, the two incumbent U.S. Senators and for the presidential nominee, U.S. Senator John S. McCain of Arizona. Trauner lost with 43% to Lummis' 53%.