A Kansas Republican, who says he rarely watched Oprah Winfrey’s television show, launched a political action committee to draft her into the 2020 presidential race months before the idea became a national conversation.
“I think she brings compassion and she brings some balance that right now we don’t have,” said A.J. Stevens, a Baldwin City resident and lifelong Republican who formed a Draft Oprah 2020 PAC in October.
Speculation that Winfrey, a billionaire with massive name recognition, might run for president mounted after her speech at Sunday’s Golden Globes ceremony, where she received a lifetime achievement award.
“For too long, women have not been heard or believed if they dare speak the truth to the power of those men. But their time is up. Their time is up,” Winfrey said in a speech that touched on sexual harassment, racism and other issues.
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Stevens, who serves as executive director of the Midland Historical Railway Association, said he’s never organized a PAC or worked in politics before forming the PAC.
The PAC had raised only $10, but after Sunday’s speech Stevens said its website has seen thousands of hits and received coverage from national media outlets such as ABC News.
“I think Oprah would be a good counter… I am a Republican, but I did not vote for Donald Trump,” Stevens said. “Just her ability to reach out to just the normal people out there… and make them feel like everything’s going to be OK and treat people with respect.”
Stevens has this enthusiasm for Winfrey despite rarely watching her show when it dominated daytime television.
“I’m not a TV fan. I look at how she lives her life,” he said, noting that Winfrey grew up in poverty before building her fortune and contending that she exemplifies the American dream.