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Gary Trauner
CFO, Mulligan Stew Pet Food
Jackson, Wyo.

Party: Democrat
District: Wyoming (one district)
Incumbent: Barbara Cubin (R) (retiring)
Challenger: Cynthia Lummis (R)
Outcome: Lost

In both business and politics, Gary Trauner bounces back from defeat

His dog food company, Mulligan Stew Pet Food, didn't win a prize in Fortune Small Business's business plan competition in 2007, but it did get an honorable mention. Since then, Trauner has helped build distribution for the fledgling firm's pet food from 60 retail stores to 400 in the space of 12 months.

He has a similar attitude towards politics. After losing the 2006 Congressional election by a slim margin - he lost to a six-term incumbent by only 1,000 votes - Trauner, 49, decided to run again.

"I never thought this would be something I would do. I'm a business man," says Trauner, who previously founded and sold an Internet business. He also owns a consulting firm that helps raise funds for startups.

Trauner is throwing his hat back in the ring after his 2006 defeat because he's disappointed by the way things have gone in the past two years: "Nothing was changing for the better, only for the worse."

Running as a Democrat in a state that has voted Republican in every Presidential election since 1968 is no easy task, but Trauner has a solid shot. As Roll Call recently noted, Trauner "has made Wyoming's lone House seat more competitive than otherwise expected, given the strong conservative bend of the state."

Trauner's top issue is energy, which he sees affecting national security, the economy and the environment. He would like to renew government incentives such as tax credits for wind and solar development.

Running a campaign is much like running a time-limited small business, Trauner says: You have to put together a staff, raise money and go through the mechanics of becoming a legal entity. For him, the hardest part is delegating.

"Unlike in a business, my job is to be the face of the campaign, and let the rest of the team do the rest without butting in too much," he says.

NEXT: Dana Walsh

LAST UPDATE: Nov 05 2008 | 1:23 PM ET
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