Oprah Winfrey announced her endorsement of Pennsylvania Democrat John Fetterman in his U.S. Senate race against Mehmet Oz, her former TV sidekick. Polling shows the tight race will most likely come down to a photo finish in next week’s midterms.

“If I lived in Pennsylvania I would have already cast my vote for John Fetterman, for many reasons,” Winfrey said Thursday on an online discussion on the importance of voting. She also said she supported Democratic Senate candidates in North Carolina, Florida, Georgia, and other states.

While Winfrey’s endorsement of Fetterman was expected, before her announcement some speculated she might be having second thoughts due to her long relationship with Oz. The man dubbed “America’s doctor” was a frequent guest on Winfrey’s daytime show, which helped launch his TV career and his own show.

Fetterman told ABC’s “The View” that Winfrey’s endorsement may help him get across the finish line. “She’s an icon. It’s unbelievable,” Fetterman said. “It’s an honor and I’m so grateful that she understands what’s at stake here in this race.” 

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A spokeswoman for the Oz campaign released a statement in response to the endorsement: “Doctor Oz loves Oprah and respects the fact that they have different politics. He believes we need more balance and less extremism in Washington,” she said.

At a private event last December, Oz said he asked Winfrey to avoid getting involved in the race, according to sources at the New York Post. “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,” he reportedly said.

Winfrey’s endorsement was long sought for by the Fetterman campaign, according to Politico.

The Fetterman-Oz race in Pennsylvania is one of the key matchups that will likely determine the balance of power in the Senate.

Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams speaks to supporters at a restaurant in College Park, Ga., on Thursday, Oct. 20, 2022. Abrams later appeared with Oprah Winfrey in a prerecorded video interview. | Jeff Amy, Associated Press
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