Oprah Winfrey endorses John Fetterman over Dr. Mehmet Oz for the PA Senate
Oprah Winfrey speaks on stage during the 2018 Robin Hood Foundation Benefit at the Jacob Javitz Center on May 14, 2018 in New York City.
Kevin Mazur | Getty Images
Oprah Winfrey said Thursday that she will vote for Democratic Lt. Gov. John Fetterman over Republican Dr. Mehmet Oz in Pennsylvania’s must-win Senate race.
That’s significant disdain for Oz, a former talk-show host backed by a former president Donald Trump who became a celebrity doctor and household name largely due to his association with Winfrey.
A talk-show superstar and media titan herself, Winfrey was the first guest on Oz’s early 2000s show “Second Opinion” and regularly invited Oz on “The Oprah Winfrey Show” over the years. Her company launched “The Dr. Oz Show,” which ran for 13 seasons and ended in January.
But Winfrey endorsed Fetterman, along with a number of other Democrats in high-profile Senate races, virtually during a virtual vote Thursday night.
“I’ll tell you all this, if I lived in Pennsylvania, I would have already voted for John Fetterman for many reasons,” Oprah said.
With less than a week until Election Day, polls show Fetterman and Oz in a dead heat in the Keystone State. The race for the Senate seat left open by the retirement of GOP Sen. Pat Toomey is considered one of the most competitive in the country as Democrats look to defend their narrow Senate majority.
Fetterman, who is recovering from a life-threatening stroke in May, denounced Oz as an out-of-touch elitist and carpet salesman from New Jersey. Oz accused Fetterman of being too left-wing for a wavering state and soft on crime, and questioned whether he was healthy enough to serve as a senator.
“And it’s not the only race that matters,” Winfrey said. She said she would vote for Democrat Cheri Beasley over GOP Rep. Ted Budd of North Carolina and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio’s Democratic challenger Val Demings if she could.
In the same breath, Winfrey endorsed: Democratic Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes over incumbent Sen. Ron Johnson in Wisconsin; Democratic Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto over GOP candidate Adam Laxalt in Nevada; and Sen. Raphael Warnock over Republican Herschel Walker in Georgia.
Winfrey also said she would vote for Texas gubernatorial candidate Beto O’Rourke, a Democrat, over incumbent Republican Gov. Greg Abbott, and for Stacey Abrams, a Democrat running to unseat Republican Gov. Brian Kemp in Georgia.
“So there are clear choices and some dynamic candidates who are working to represent the values — we’re talking about — values that we hold dear, values of inclusion, values of compassion and community that many of us share,” Winfrey said.
“So use your common sense, which seems to be lacking in many of our countries today. Use your common sense and choose wisely for our country’s democracy,” she added.
In a statement, Fetterman called it an “honor and privilege to have Oprah’s endorsement in this race.”
“She is a leader on so many issues — fighting for our democracy, passing common sense gun reform and ensuring racial justice,” Fetterman said. “I’m grateful for Oprah’s support and trust in the issues that matter to people across the country and in Pennsylvania as we close out this campaign.”
A spokeswoman for Oz’s campaign did not immediately respond to CNBC’s request for comment on Winfrey’s endorsement. In a statement to NBC News, his campaign said, “Dr. Oz loves Oprah and respects the fact that they have different policies. He believes we need more balance and less extremism in Washington.”
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