Oprah Winfrey Jumps Into 2014 Campaign With Fundraiser for Congressional Candidate

Oprah Winfrey
Jennifer Lourie/FilmMagic

Oprah Winfrey is stepping in to the 2014 midterm campaign by appearing at a fundraiser on April 5 for Lavern Chatman, who is campaigning for a Virginia congressional seat.

Winfrey will be the featured celebrity guest at the event in Arlington, Va.

“This event with Oprah is another big momentum boost for our campaign,” Chatman said in a statement. “To win a race like this, you need a lot of support and a strong grass roots effort. Our campaign is off to a tremendous start. We have inspired new volunteers and re-engaged many voters.”

Chatman, former president and CEO of the Northern Virginia Urban League, is in a crowded field of Democrats vying for the nomination to succeed Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.), who is retiring.

Her campaign said the event theme will be “Empowering our Women and Girls for Leadership.”

“Oprah is a good friend and we both share a passion for empowering women and girls for leadership,” Chatman said.

Winfrey’s endorsement of Barack Obama in 2007 was credited with giving him a fund-raising and organizing boost, as she hosted an event for him at her Montecito, Calif., home and made multiple appearances for him on the campaign trail. Nevertheless, it was a risk for her to get involved in partisan politics, particularly as he was engaged in a tense campaign for the nomination against Hillary Clinton. She took a less active role in the 2012 cycle.

Meanwhile, Democratic candidates have been aggressively courting Hollywood donors for what looks like a volatile midterm campaign, as the party tries to hold on to the Senate and make gains in the House. Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) is scheduled to appear at a fundraiser on Wednesday at the home of Tennis Channel CEO Ken Solomon. Also scheduled for upcoming Los Angeles events are Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.), raising money for the Common Ground PAC, and Sen. John Walsh (D-Montana), who is seeking a full term after he was appointed to succeed Max Baucus.