Oprah Winfrey said Thursday night that if she lived in Pennsylvania, she would vote for John Fetterman for U.S. Senate over Mehmet Oz, the celebrity surgeon she helped catapult to fame.
”I said it was up to the citizens of Pennsylvania … but I will tell you all this, if I lived in Pennsylvania, I would have already cast my vote for John Fetterman for many reasons,” Winfrey said during an online discussion Thursday about voting and the midterm elections.
Winfrey’s comments supporting the Democratic nominee came just days before a crucial election that could decide control of the Senate and as Oz, the GOP nominee widely known as “Dr. Oz,” is running neck-and-neck with Fetterman.
After mentioning Fetterman, Winfrey — who has previously supported Democrats such as former President Barack Obama and New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker — said she’d also support Democrats this year in key Senate and gubernatorial races in North Carolina, Florida, Georgia, Wisconsin, Nevada, and Texas.
”There are clear choices out there … to represent the values — this is what we’re talking about — the values we hold dear,” she said on the Zoom presentation. “The values of inclusion, the values of compassion … that so many of us share, so use your discernment.”
She concluded, “Use your discernment and choose wisely for the democracy of our country.”
Winfrey was speaking as part of a Zoom event through her group OWN Your Vote, which partners with other political organizations to encourage voting and participation by Black women. Democrats are making a late push to energize Black voters, a key to their coalition. Obama is visiting Pittsburgh Saturday morning before he and President Joe Biden rally Democrats in Philadelphia.
Fetterman, in a statement, said it was “an honor and privilege to have Oprah’s support in this race.”
“She is a leader on so many issues — fighting for our democracy, passing common-sense gun reform, and ensuring racial justice. I’m grateful for Oprah’s support and trust on the issues that matter to people across the country and Pennsylvania as we close out this campaign,” Fetterman said.
Oz spokesperson Brittany Yanick said Thursday night: “Doctor Oz loves Oprah and respects the fact that they have different politics. He believes we need more balance and less extremism in Washington.”
Oz in December told Republican insiders in New York he had asked Winfrey to stay out of the Senate race.
“I asked her to stay out. Don’t support me because if you get involved in any way, you’ll get hurt and I don’t want my friends hurt,” Oz said then, according to a recording obtained by the New York Post.
Oz and Winfrey have a long history together on TV.
Winfrey first appeared as a guest on Oz’s short-lived Discovery series, Second Opinion with Dr. Oz, in 2003, leading to his regular appearances on Winfrey’s massively popular daytime talk show the following year.
His own syndicated talk show, The Dr. Oz Show, premiered in 2009 and was co-produced by Winfrey’s Harpo Productions. It was taken off the air Dec. 1, 2021, in the Philadelphia TV market, where it aired on Fox 29, and New York after Oz declared his run for Senate. The program ended later that month.