Kevin Costner has endorsed a candidate for the 2020 presidential election.
The Field of Dreams actor returned to Iowa on Sunday to go to bat for Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg, pitching the small-town mayor as someone worth listening to in the crowded lineup of White House hopefuls. Taking to the podium prior to Buttigieg’s arrival, Costner expressed his support and praised the candidate for being a “man of his moment.”
“Whether your road leads you to Pete, like mine has, that’s for you to judge,” Costner, a self-described independent, told more than 1,000 people in the high school gymnasium of Indianola, a town of about 16,000 people located south of Des Moines. “When Pete speaks of unity, it’s the kind of unity I’ve been waiting and hoping to hear about.”
He continued: “The strength he describes isn’t the kind that limits compassion in the name of America. It’s a man who not only understands how the world looks at us but how history will and how we ought to look at ourselves. And maybe most importantly I see Pete as a man of his moment and maybe of his time.”
Costner, whose 1989 film Field of Dreams offered a mixture of baseball and fantasy amid Iowa cornfields, also noted the status of the state’s caucuses as the first voting in the selection of a Democratic nominee.
“That power, that awesome responsibility, originates here on the ground in Iowa,” said Costner, speaking in a low voice from a lectern and looking casual in jeans and a wind-breaker. “What you do with your vote is put those first seeds in the ground and see what grows next year.”
It was Buttigieg, not Costner, who brought up Field of Dreams. In a nod to his audience, the mayor of South Bend, Indiana, didn’t quote the movie’s most famous line — “Ïf you build it, he will come”— but a more crowd-pleasing bit of dialogue: “Is this heaven? No, it’s Iowa.” The candidate thanked the star for making “Iowa as heavenly as it can be on a December day.”
Among those turning out to see the director and star of the films Dances With Wolves and Open Range and the lead on the current Paramount Network series Yellowstone was 76-year-old retiree Martha Cunningham. “I’d have come to see Pete. But seeing Kevin Costner, that’s extra,” she said.
Costner’s endorsement is not the actor’s first foray into politics. In 2008, he endorsed former President Barack Obama in Colorado. Earlier this year, Costner also endorsed Iowa congressional candidate J.D. Scholten, a former semi-pro baseball player who made a second bid to unseat GOP Rep. Steve King.
The appearance of celebrity endorsers marks a new phase in the Iowa campaign as the caucuses loom Feb. 3. Earlier this month, actress Rosario Dawson campaigned with her boyfriend, Cory Booker, the New Jersey senator and Buttigieg rival. Days later, former Olympic ice skater Michelle Kwan was spinning with children at a downtown Des Moines ice rink touting her pick in the 2020 Democratic field, former Vice President Joe Biden.
Costner’s endorsement arrives amid Donald Glover participating in a pop-up event to raise money for businessman and Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang earlier this week. The multihyphenate artist will serve as a creative consultant for Yang’s campaign.
WATCH: Actor Kevin Costner endorses @PeteButtigieg, in part saying “He won’t compete to be the loudest. I don’t see his arms flapping. His silences are those of someone who can wait until he has something worked out in his mind to speak.” pic.twitter.com/ndZiS9RIOX
— Tara Prindiville (@taraprindiville) December 22, 2019