Mandy Moore, Dave Chappelle and More Stars Help Campaign in Iowa: It's "Truly an Open Race"

ONE TIME USE ONLY - Mandy Moore  at Iowa State University - AP IMAGE - H 2020
AP Photo/Andrew Harnik

With the state's Feb. 3 caucuses fast approaching, stars and producers are fanning out to support their favored candidates: "I don't want to wake up next November and think what more could I have done."

Forget the slopes of Park City. In the winter of 2020, all roads lead to Iowa for Hollywood's hard-core political class. "This year's caucus is truly an open race," says producer and former Sony Pictures Television chief marketing officer Sheraton Kalouria, who is part of an energized group of industry figures heading to the Hawkeye State to canvas in the days leading up to the Feb. 3 statewide caucuses, the nation's first presidential contests this year.

Kalouria — who is supporting former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg — says he plans to go door-to-door, hand out flyers and, if necessary, ferry people by car to caucus locations. "Obama winning in Iowa changed the trajectory of the race in 2008, so that adds a level of appeal to me," says Kalouria. "Frankly, I don't want to wake up next November and think what more could I have done to defeat this president."

This won't be the first time Hollywood has made the trek to the Iowa caucuses, which are seen as a significant indicator of a campaign's viability. But the deep pool of candidates this year coupled with the urgency of this presidential election seems to be drawing a larger and more diverse group than in previous cycles. Dave Chappelle was set to host a Jan. 28 comedy show in Ames to support the candidacy of entrepreneur Andrew Yang. On Jan. 25, filmmaker Michael Moore stumped for Sen. Bernie Sanders in Sioux City, Iowa, while Jonathan Van Ness of Netflix's Queer Eye appeared with his preferred candidate, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, at a rally in Cedar Rapids the next day. An Emerson College poll released Jan. 26 showed Sanders in the lead in Iowa with 30 percent support, followed by former Vice President Joe Biden with 21 percent, Sen. Amy Klobuchar at 13 percent and Warren at 11 percent.

The L.A. Women's Collective — a PAC that includes high-profile female producers and execs including Bad Robot's Hannah Minghella and Heidi Lindelof — plans on making its presence felt in Iowa as well. Ten members of the group, including producer Amy Baer, will be in the state. But according to collective member Hannah Linkenhoker, senior political strategist at ICM Partners, the group will focus its efforts on raising money and awareness for Iowa Democratic Senate candidate Theresa Greenfield, who is running to unseat Republican incumbent Joni Ernst. "The strategy is for us to focus on the down-ballot races," Linkenhoker tells THR. "So we have a whole itinerary of plans while we are there."

Meanwhile, This Is Us star Mandy Moore recently returned from Iowa, where she rallied voters Jan. 13 in support of Buttigieg on the eve of the most recent Democratic debate. "We're not in a TV show. This isn't a movie — it's our reality, and our reality is our country is in crisis," Moore said in her remarks. "And we need a leader who understands how urgent these challenges are."

This story first appeared in the Jan. 29 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. Click here to subscribe.