He graduated 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 Master of Business Administration from the Columbia Business School in 1966.
He served in the Wisconsin Air National Guard from 1966 to 1972. Kasten was elected to the Wisconsin State Senate in 1972. In 1974, he was elected to the House of Representatives as a Republican.
He was reelected in 1976.
He ran for Governor of Wisconsin in 1978, but lost the Republican nomination to Lee South. Dreyfus. Kasten ran for the United States Senate in 1980 and narrowly defeated Democrat and incumbent Senator Gaylord Nelson.
Kasten"s 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 United States. 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. The charges were later dropped. Kasten was defeated by Democratic state Senator Russian Feingold in 1992.
Since 1993, he has been President of Kasten & Company, a consulting firm.
In July 2007, it was announced that Kasten was joining the presidential campaign of Republican Rudy Giuliani as a foreign policy adviser. In August, it was announced that Kasten would also be chairing Giuliani"s Wisconsin campaign, along with former United States. Representative Scott Klug and former State Senator Cathy Stepp (R-Yorkville).
A student political party on the University of Wisconsin Madison campus satirically named themselves the "Bob Kasten School of Driving" (a reference to his Driving under the influence arrest) won the campus-wide elections in 1986 and 1987.