Oprah using star power to influence politics in Virginia

Oprah Winfrey at the SAG Awards

Lavern Chatman(CNN) — You may have never heard of Lavern Chatman, a Democrat running for Congress in northern Virginia.

But now that her pal Oprah Winfrey is making a rare political appearance for the candidate, Chatman is making national headlines.

It helps to have famous friends.

Chatman announced Tuesday that Winfrey will appear at a fundraiser for Chatman on April 5 in Arlington, Virginia. The event will be focused on women’s issues, Chatman said.

“Oprah is a good friend and we both share a passion for empowering women and girls for leadership. I’m delighted she is coming to town to help with my congressional campaign,” she said in a statement on her website.

She’s one of nearly a dozen Democrats running in the solidly-Democratic 8th Congressional District, where longtime Rep. Jim Moran is retiring.

“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,” she said in the statement about Winfrey.

Chatman has run nonprofit community-based programs, according to her website, including a group that aims to boost voter participation and a mentoring organization called The Grandfathers Group.

While Winfrey started getting more involved in politics with then-Sen. Barack Obama’s first presidential campaign, she still largely stays out of campaigns and elections. Other exceptions include former Newark mayor Cory Booker, who ran for the Senate and won in a special election last year with support from Winfrey. She also gave a check to a young city council candidate in Stockton, California in 2012.

She has donated to state Democratic parties, as well as the Democratic National Committee.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 14,776 other followers