Bob Kasten

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Bob Kasten
United States Senator
from Wisconsin
In office
January 3, 1981 – January 3, 1993
Preceded byGaylord Nelson
Succeeded byRuss Feingold
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Wisconsin's 9th district
In office
January 3, 1975 – January 3, 1979
Preceded byGlenn R. Davis
Succeeded byJim Sensenbrenner
Member of the Wisconsin State Senate
for the 4th district
In office
Preceded byNile Soik
Succeeded byNile Soik
Personal details
Robert Walter Kasten Jr.

(1942-06-19) June 19, 1942 (age 77)
Milwaukee, Wisconsin, U.S.
Political partyRepublican
Spouse(s)Sarah Kasten
EducationUniversity of Arizona (BA)
Columbia University (MBA)

Robert Walter Kasten Jr. (born June 19, 1942) is an American Republican politician from the state of Wisconsin who served as a U.S. Representative from 1975 to 1979 and as a U.S. Senator from 1981 to 1993.


Kasten was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He attended the Milwaukee Country Day School before graduating in 1960 from The Choate School (now Choate Rosemary Hall) in Wallingford, Connecticut, in 1964 from the University of Arizona in Tucson, and received his M.B.A. from the Columbia Business School in 1966. He served in the Wisconsin Air National Guard from 1966 to 1972.[1]

Elected office[edit]

Kasten was elected to the Wisconsin State Senate in 1972. In 1974, he was elected to the House of Representatives after defeating incumbent Glenn R. Davis in a Republican primary election. He was reelected in 1976. He ran for Governor of Wisconsin in 1978, but lost the Republican nomination to Lee S. Dreyfus.

Kasten ran for the United States Senate in 1980 and narrowly defeated Democrat and incumbent Senator Gaylord Nelson. The victory was propelled in part by the popularity of Ronald Reagan at the top of the Republican ticket. In the Senate, Kasten was an outspoken conservative. He was the first Republican to represent Wisconsin in the U.S. Senate since Alexander Wiley left office in 1963 after being defeated in 1962 by Nelson.

In 1985, Kasten was arrested and charged with driving under the influence after a District of Columbia police officer observed him running a red light and driving on the wrong side of the road.[2] The charges were later dropped.[citation needed]

In 1986, Kasten narrowly defeated Democrat Ed Garvey to win a second term after a very bitter campaign, one that was characterized by personal attacks and is remembered as one of the nastiest elections in Wisconsin history.[3] Kasten was defeated by Democratic state Senator Russ Feingold in 1992.

After the Senate[edit]

Since 1993, he has been President of Kasten & Company, a consulting firm. In July 2007, Kasten joined the presidential campaign of Republican Rudy Giuliani as a foreign policy adviser.[4] He chaired Giuliani's Wisconsin campaign, along with former U.S. Representative Scott Klug and former State Senator Cathy Stepp.[5]

After Giuliani dropped out, Kasten endorsed his close friend and former Senate colleague John McCain.[6] In April 2016, Kasten endorsed Republican frontrunner Donald Trump for president in 2016, becoming part of Trump's foreign policy advisory team.[7]

Electoral history[edit]

Wisconsin U.S. Senate Election 1992
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Democratic Russ Feingold 1,290,662 52.6
Republican Bob Kasten (incumbent) 1,129,599 46.0
Wisconsin U.S. Senate Election 1986
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Republican Bob Kasten (incumbent) 754,573 50.9
Democratic Ed Garvey 702,963 47.4
Wisconsin U.S. Senate Election 1980
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Republican Bob Kasten 50.2
Democratic Gaylord Nelson (incumbent) 48.3

Cultural references[edit]

Writer Mike Baron named a recurring character in his Wisconsin-based comic book Badger after Kasten, then Wisconsin's junior senator. The character, a peg-legged, vampire-hunting pig named "Senator Bob Kasten", made several appearances in the series.[8][better source needed] A student political party on the University of Wisconsin Madison campus satirically named themselves the "Bob Kasten School of Driving" (a reference to his DUI arrest) won the campus-wide elections in 1986 and 1987.[9]


  1. ^ 'Wisconsin Blue Book 1991-1992,' Biographical Sketch of Robert W. Kasten, pg. 11
  2. ^ "Sen. Kasten Accused of Driving While Drunk". Los Angeles Times. December 14, 1985. Retrieved November 19, 2016.
  3. ^ Raymond Coffey (October 31, 1986). "Wisconsin Race Hits Low Road". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved November 19, 2016.
  4. ^ Craig Gilbert; Katherine M. Skiba; Audrey Hoffe (July 21, 2007). "Former Wisconsin senator joins Giuliani's team". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Archived from the original on September 29, 2007. Retrieved November 19, 2016.
  5. ^ "Regional News Briefs". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. August 30, 2007. Archived from the original on June 25, 2016. Retrieved November 19, 2016.
  6. ^ [1]
  7. ^ Gilbert, Craig (February 13, 2008). "Former GOP Sen. Bob Kasten joins Trump foreign policy team". Retrieved November 19, 2016.
  8. ^ "Senator Bob Kasten". Retrieved November 19, 2016.
  9. ^ "Ex-UW Student Prez up for 'Annie'". The Capital Times, January 24, 2005.

External links[edit]

U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
Glenn Robert Davis
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Wisconsin's 9th congressional district

Succeeded by
Jim Sensenbrenner
U.S. Senate
Preceded by
Gaylord Nelson
U.S. Senator (Class 3) from Wisconsin
Served alongside: William Proxmire, Herb Kohl
Succeeded by
Russ Feingold
Party political offices
Preceded by
Thad Cochran
Vice-Chairman of the Senate Republican Conference
Succeeded by
Trent Lott