Bruce Rastetter endorses Chris Christie for 2016


Charlie Coffey/Iowa State Daily

Bruce Rastetter conducts at question and answer session with New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie about agricultural issues facing the world today. The session was a part of the 2015 Ag Summit that took place in Des Moines on March 7.

Alex Hanson

Agribusiness leader and Republican mega-donor Bruce Rastetter is officially throwing his support behind New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie just over four months ahead of February’s Iowa Caucus.

Rastetter, along with half-a-dozen other business and community leaders, flew to New Jersey in 2011 hoping to draft Christie into the 2012 race, but Christie declined.

“We have a country that is in more decline than what it was four years ago,” Rasetter said at a press conference in Des Moines on Tuesday. “It is in more need for leadership — in terms of bold leadership, principled leadership — than certainly it was in 2011, and we have a governor who continues to be bold and direct and knowing what he thinks.”

Rastetter appeared alongside the five others who tried to draft Christie in 2011 and introduced him at the event.

“It became very clear to us that that same reason that we flew to New Jersey in 2011 exists today in even a greater way, that we have decided that we want to move forward endorsing Chris Christie for president,” Rastetter said.

Rastetter has made millions off his agriculture business holdings and deals, but he also plays a large role in statewide education decisions as president of the Iowa Board of Regents. He currently serves as CEO of The Summit Group, based in Alden, Iowa.

In past cycles, Rastetter was one of Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad’s biggest donors.

The other six people backing Christie for presdient are:

  • Denny Elwell, chairman of the Denny Elwell Company
  • Gary Kirke, chairman of the Wild Rose Casino and Resort and founder of Kirke Financial Services
  • Dr. Mike Richards, vice chairman of the board of directors of Wild Rose Casino and Resorts
  • Mikel Derby, legislative liaison for the Iowa Department of Transportation
  • Jim Kersten, former Iowa state senator