Oprah Endorses Dr. Oz's Opponent John Fetterman in Tight Pennsylvania Senate Race

Oprah Winfrey has endorsed Democratic candidate John Fetterman in the tight Pennsylvania Senate race against Republican opponent Mehmet Oz, who first rose to fame on the TV icon's show as Dr. Oz.

During a virtual panel conversation with community leaders, activists and voters from across the country Thursday, Winfrey addressed the upcoming election as part of the ongoing OWN Your Vote initiative hosted by OWN, the Oprah Winfrey Network.

"At the beginning of the midterm campaigns, I said it was up to the citizens to vote for who would represent them. If I lived in Pennsylvania, I would have already cast my vote for John Fetterman for many reasons," Winfrey said.

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John Fetterman, lieutenant governor of Pennsylvania and Democratic senate candidate, speaks during a campaign event in Lebanon, Pennsylvania, U.S., on Saturday, April 30, 2022. Fetterman, the only candidate who has run statewide, leads the Democratic field with 33% in an Emerson College poll last month. Photographer: Michelle Gustafson/Bloomberg via Getty Images ; Oprah Winfrey attends Premiere Of Apple TV +'s "Sidney" at Academy Museum of Motion Pictures on September 21, 2022 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images)
John Fetterman, lieutenant governor of Pennsylvania and Democratic senate candidate, speaks during a campaign event in Lebanon, Pennsylvania, U.S., on Saturday, April 30, 2022. Fetterman, the only candidate who has run statewide, leads the Democratic field with 33% in an Emerson College poll last month. Photographer: Michelle Gustafson/Bloomberg via Getty Images ; Oprah Winfrey attends Premiere Of Apple TV +'s "Sidney" at Academy Museum of Motion Pictures on September 21, 2022 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images)

Michelle Gustafson/Bloomberg/Getty; Jon Kopaloff/Getty

"There are clear choices and some dynamic candidates who are working to represent the values that so many of us hold dear — like inclusion, compassion and community. So I ask that voters use discernment and choose wisely to preserve the democracy of our country."

Fetterman's campaign acknowledged the endorsement, giving a statement to NBC News. "It speaks volumes that Oprah would endorse Fetterman over Oz, after declining to weigh in during Oz's primary election," the team said.

RELATED: The Rise and Fall of Dr. Oz

Lt. Gov. John Fetterman and Dr. Mehmet Oz
Lt. Gov. John Fetterman and Dr. Mehmet Oz

Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Bonnie Biess/Getty John Fetterman, Mehmet Oz

The Pennsylvania race is one of several close elections that could determine which party takes over the Senate after the midterms

Winfrey also backed other Democrats running in next week's midterm elections, including Sen. Raphael Warnock and Stacey Abrams in Georgia, and former Rep. Beto O'Rourke in Texas.

WILKES-BARRE, PENNSYLVANIA - SEPTEMBER 03: Pennsylvania GOP Senate candidate and former TV personality Dr. Mehmet Oz speaks before an appearance by former president Donald Trump to endorse local candidates at the Mohegan Sun Arena on September 03, 2022 in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. Trump still denies that he lost the election against President Joe Biden and has encouraged his supporters to doubt the election process. Trump has backed Senate candidate Mehmet Oz and gubernatorial hopeful Doug Mastriano. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
WILKES-BARRE, PENNSYLVANIA - SEPTEMBER 03: Pennsylvania GOP Senate candidate and former TV personality Dr. Mehmet Oz speaks before an appearance by former president Donald Trump to endorse local candidates at the Mohegan Sun Arena on September 03, 2022 in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. Trump still denies that he lost the election against President Joe Biden and has encouraged his supporters to doubt the election process. Trump has backed Senate candidate Mehmet Oz and gubernatorial hopeful Doug Mastriano. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Spencer Platt/Getty

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In 2004, Dr. Oz, a cardiothoracic surgeon, served as Winfrey's go-to medical expert on The Oprah Winfrey Show. After five years he went on to earn his own long-lasting daytime talk, The Dr. Oz Show, backed by Winfrey's production company.

Though the pair now have clear political differences, a spokesperson for Dr. Oz told the Philadelphia Inquirer that the candidate "loves Oprah and respects the fact that they have different politics."

"He believes we need more balance and less extremism in Washington," added the spokesperson. Oz, who is backed by former President Donald Trump, has campaigned on a divisive MAGA platform that did not appear to resonate with Pennsylvania voters in polls, and only recently began trying to appeal to moderates.