Oprah Winfrey has endorsed Stacey Abrams, the Democratic candidate in a tight gubernatorial race, and will visit Georgia.
Abrams’ campaign announced that Winfrey would join her for two town hall-style events on Thursday “for a conversation on the critical value of women in leadership and what is at stake for our communities in the election.”
The events will take place in Marietta located in Republican-leaning Cobb County, and Decatur in DeKalb County, which is heavily Democratic. Supporters acted quickly and registered; tickets for both events are no longer available.
In January, Winfrey delivered a powerful speech at the Golden Globes after becoming the first Black woman to receive the Cecil B. DeMille Award. It raised hope and speculation that the media mogul would run for the presidency in 2020.
Amid speculation, Trump said during a meeting with U.S. senators to discuss immigration reform, “Yeah, I’ll beat Oprah.”
Winfrey has since said she would “definitely not” run for president. But her influence matters in getting politicians elected. She was as an outspoken supporter of Barack Obama when he first won the White House in 2008.
Winfrey’s support of Abrams is meaningful to her campaign, as she needs to enlarge support from progressive nonwhite voters, and at the same time, gain the support of progressive white voters. Steve Philips, an attorney and founder of Democracy of Color, explains in his book “Brown is the New White” that the new majority consists of progressive people of color (23 percent of all eligible voters in the nation) and progressive whites (28 percent).
If elected, Abrams would make history as the first Black female governor in the country. Her Republican opponent, Brian Kemp, is also Georgia’s secretary of state, a role in which he oversees state elections. Earlier this month, a coalition of state civil rights groups sued Kemp, accusing him of voter suppression to improve his chances of winning.
On Monday, former President and former Georgia Governor Jimmy Carter asked Kemp to step down as secretary of state since he was running for governor.
Former President Barack Obama will be attending an event on Friday with Abrams and other Democrats at Forbes Arena on the campus of Morehouse College.