Oprah Winfrey has weighed in on the decision by protégé Dr. Mehmet Oz to run as a Republican candidate for U.S. Senate in Pennsylvania in the 2022 election.
Winfrey, 67, had Oz, 61, on her popular talk show to dispense medical advice dozens of times before he landed his own show in 2009.
The talk show mogul gave a statement to New York magazine about Oz's congressional candidacy for a profile of Oz and his campaign that was published on Tuesday.
"One of the great things about our democracy is that every citizen can decide to run for public office," Winfrey said through spokesperson Nicole Nichols. "Mehmet Oz has made that decision. And now it’s up to the residents of Pennsylvania to decide who will represent them."
Winfrey herself once hinted at the possibility of running for president in 2017 before putting the rumors to rest in 2018 by telling InStyle magazine “it’s not something that interests me” and that she doesn’t “have the DNA for it.”
Oz announced late last month that he would be running as a Republican candidate looking to fill the seat of Sen. Pat Toomey. The Republican senator announced in October 2020 that he would not be seeking reelection to a third term, leaving a wide-open race for a crucial congressional seat in an election that will decide which party controls the Senate.
A cardiothoracic surgeon, Oz became a regular contributor and guest on "The Oprah Winfrey Show" in the 2000s before getting his own show. Winfrey's Harpo Productions produced "The Dr. Oz Show," which Sony Pictures Television announced will end its 13-season run on Jan. 14 due to Oz's Senate race.
The show will be replaced by the one-hour syndicated cooking show "The Good Dish," hosted by Gail Simmons, Jamika Pessoa and Oz's oldest daughter, Daphne Oz. The show, which started out as a weekly segment on "The Dr. Oz Show," begins Jan. 17.