Oprah Winfrey on Thursday delivered a powerful message to attendees of a town hall in support of Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams: Don’t dishonor your ancestors by failing to vote in the midterm elections.
The media mogul invoked the story of Otis Moss Sr., who had walked 18 miles to vote in an election but was told he was too late to cast a ballot. He died before he was able to finally vote in the next election.
“For anybody here who has an ancestor who didn’t have the right to vote and you are choosing not to vote wherever you are in this state, in this country, you are dishonoring your family,” Winfrey said at an event in Marietta on Thursday.
“You are disrespecting and disregarding their legacy, their suffering and their dreams when you don’t vote,” she added.
Abrams had announced Wednesday that Winfrey would be joining her on the campaign trail in her highly contested race against Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp (R).
“I am an independent woman,” Winfrey told the crowd on Thursday. “Nobody paid for me to come here. Nobody even asked for me to come here. I paid for myself and I approve this message.”
“We are not powerless,” she added. “Every single one of us has the same power at the polls.”
Despite ongoing rumors that she herself is considering a run for president in 2020, Winfrey on Thursday denied any desire to toss her hat in the ring.
“I’m not here because I’m making some grandstand, because I’m thinking of running myself,” she said. “I don’t want to run, OK? I’m not trying to test any waters. Don’t want to go in those waters. I’m here today because of Stacey Abrams.”
Meanwhile, Vice President Mike Pence also visited Georgia on Thursday to stump for Kemp.
“I heard Oprah was in town today,” Pence told Kemp rallygoers. “And I heard Will Ferrell was going door to door the other day. Well, I’d like to remind Stacey and Oprah and Will Ferrell: I’m kind of a big deal too.”
The story has been updated with additional comments from Winfrey.