Few celebrities in the public eye have more pull with their audience than Oprah.
Oprah Winfrey hosted a virtual campaign event for Democratic Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams on Thursday night.
Titled “A Thriving Life!” the event featured a pre-recorded split-screen conversation between the two as they discussed the candidate’s plans for the state ahead of her rematch with incumbent Republican Gov. Brian Kemp.
Winfrey, 66, also campaigned for Abrams during her first run against Kemp in 2018, which she narrowly lost.
Abrams, 49, never officially conceded the election, which she claimed was “stolen” from her due to alleged discriminatory election practices and voter suppression.
“You ended up giving the non-concession speech heard around the world as you were demanding that every single vote be counted and every voice be heard in Georgia,” Winfrey said.
“I didn’t win,” Abrams said. “People think I’m confused. I’m not, but I’ve gotten to spend the last four years doing the things I talked about.”
In the wake of her loss, the politician built her national profile as a voting rights activist, earning millions from books and speeches.
Abrams used Thursday’s event to outline her platform, which includes expanding Medicaid health insurance, reversing the six-week abortion ban, investing in education, improving affordable housing, enacting “common sense” gun control laws and developing small businesses.
Abrams also warned against “voter lethargy,” as she said Georgians were at risk of losing their constitutional freedoms.
She argued that people should vote for her as protection against U.S. Supreme Court decisions that she said could erode minority voting rights, protections for LGBTQ people and safeguards against stolen presidential elections.
“If we don’t elect me, we will have no health care for half a million Georgians,” Abrams said. “Our children will continue to go to underfunded schools where transgender children have been banned from playing with their friends.
“We will have divisive laws that say that you have to lie to your children about their history. The members of the LGBTQ community will not have protection.”
In addition, Abrams said if Kemp is elected, he “will attack our freedoms, especially if you’re a woman.”
She continued, “And so if you want opportunity, freedom, and the ability to control your future, you need me as governor, because Brian Kemp’s proven he doesn’t care, and he won’t help.”
“What can we do to help?” Winfrey asked. “And the biggest answer is, you vote because too much is at stake not to. I mean, as you’re listing all of this, what will happen if you don’t?”
Winfrey added, “It’s really frightening. I know you’re not the kind of woman who gets frightened. You don’t live in a fear space. But aren’t you deeply concerned that there is this lethargy?”
Winfrey noted that people are under the impression that their rights are protected because there is legislation in place to keep checks and balances.
“We have learned that the checks and balances aren’t in check,” she said.
The talk show host said she believes Abrams has a “calling to want people to be able to do better, to live better and to thrive in their lives.”
“I’m wishing that the people of Georgia come out and make that a reality for you and the state of Georgia,” Winfrey said.
Winfrey is the latest celebrity to throw her support behind Abrams, joining John Legend and Ciara.
Kemp has attacked Abrams as “Celebrity Stacey,” saying last month that Abrams is “running her campaign to cater to liberal elites” and not to Georgians.
“While Stacey Abrams continues to solicit the help of out-of-state billionaires,” said Kemp spokesperson Tate Mitchell, “Gov. Kemp will continue to talk to hardworking Georgians about his record of economic success and plan to build a safer, stronger Georgia.”
A September Fox News poll showed Kemp leading Abrams by seven points, with independent voters breaking for the Republican incumbent by 12 points.