With just days until Election Day, Oprah Winfrey has endorsed John Fetterman, the Democratic Senate candidate in Pennsylvania locked in a high-stakes race against her former protégé, Mehmet Oz.
"I said it was up to the citizens of Pennsylvania," Winfrey said during a Zoom roundtable about voting and the midterms on Thursday. "But I tell you all this, if I lived in Pennsylvania, I would have already cast my vote for John Fetterman for many reasons."
Winfrey's endorsement comes just days ahead of Nov. 8, when many Pennsylvania voters have already cast their ballots during early voting.
The Oz campaign chalked her endorsement up to a difference in politics.
"Doctor Oz loves Oprah and respects the fact that they have different politics," spokesperson Rachel Tripp said in a statement.
The media mogul initially avoided taking a side in the race, one of the most crucial in the midterm elections. Democrats hold a slim majority in the Senate, and the Pennsylvania seat is one of a handful that could tip the balance toward either party.
In December 2021, a month after Oz declared his candidacy, Winfrey told New York magazine that the decision was in the hands of Pennsylvania voters.
"One of the great things about our democracy is that every citizen can decide to run for public office," she said. "Mehmet Oz has made that decision. And now it’s up to the residents of Pennsylvania to decide who will represent them."
Winfrey elevated Oz's public profile and lent him medical credibility when he became a regular guest on her show starting in the mid-2000s. His spinoff series, The Dr. Oz Show, was co-produced by Winfrey's production company. It ran from 2009 until 2022, when production stopped after he announced his bid for Senate.
Winfrey's late endorsement did not dissuade the Fetterman campaign.
"It is an honor and privilege to have Oprah's support in this race," he said in a statement. "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."
On Twitter, the campaign welcomed her to #teamfetterman and added an "Oprah's Book Club" sticker to his Twitter profile picture.
Both Democrats and Republicans have poured resources into the Senate race in Pennsylvania, which Donald Trump narrowly lost in the 2020 presidential election.
On Saturday, President Joe Biden and former president Barack Obama will appear at a rally in Philadelphia to give the Fetterman campaign a final boost before Election Day.
Meanwhile, Oz is hoping that an appearance with Trump at a rally in Latrobe, also on Saturday, will do the same.