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Oprah Winfrey takes part in a town hall meeting with Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams.
Reuters/Chris Aluka Berry
Oprah Winfrey takes part in a town hall meeting with Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams.
O, IT'S NOT ABOUT ME

Oprah is knocking on doors in Georgia to get out the vote

By Ephrat Livni

Oprah Winfrey does not want to be president, despite what many have speculated. She is not running for political office now or contemplating a future run. That’s what she told an audience at a town hall meeting in Marietta, Georgia today (Nov. 1).

Still, she is intent on getting voters to the polls. In a speech in the Atlanta suburb, Oprah said, “I want to make it very clear to all the press, everybody, I’m not here because I’m making some grandstand because I’m thinking about running myself. I don’t want to run, OK? I’m not trying to test any waters.” In an exaggerated tone, she added,”Don’t want to go in those waters.”

Then she got very serious, reminding listeners of not-so-distant US history. “I’m here today because of Stacey Abrams,” Oprah said, referring to the Democratic gubernatorial candidate. “And I’m here today because of the men and because of the women who were lynched, who were humiliated, who were discriminated against, who were suppressed, who were repressed, and oppressed for the right, for the equality at the polls. And I want you to know that their blood has seeped into my DNA and I refuse to let their sacrifices be in vain.” 

Next, Oprah took to the streets, personally canvassing for Abrams to the delight of those who found the celebrity knocking on their doors.

Abrams, a lawyer and novelist, was the Georgia House of Representatives minority leader from 2011 to 2017. If elected, she will be the first female African-American governor in the US.

She is running in a close race against Republican nominee Brian Kemp, Georgia’s secretary of state. He had vice president Mike Pence campaigning on his behalf today. Pence, hearing about Oprah’s efforts just 70 miles away, told Republicans in Dalton, “Brian Kemp’s getting the support of all kinds of hard-working, good people all across Georgia, and Stacey Abrams is being bankrolled by Hollywood liberals. I got a message for all of Stacey Abrams’ liberal Hollywood friends: This ain’t Hollywood. This is Georgia.”

Of course, no one knows that better than Georgians. They are keenly aware of the southern state’s fraught economic and racial history. And Kemp, whose office is responsible for voter registration and elections, has done little to reassure Democrats there that he really cares about all the “good people all across Georgia.” His office had initially put more than 53,000 voter applications on hold, nearly 70% from African-Americans, claiming they failed to meet state standards but reversed the decision after widespread protest.

Without explicitly calling out Kemp’s alleged voter-suppression efforts, Oprah seemed to reference the Republican’s actions in her speech, saying, “Every single one of us—every single one of us—has the same power at the polls, and every single one of us has something that, if done in numbers too big to tamper with, cannot be suppressed and cannot be denied.”