Lavern Chatman

Lavern Chatman

*Oprah Winfrey is throwing her influence behind a political candidate for the first time since backing Barack Obama in 2007.

The TV veteran will step into the 2014 midterm campaign by appearing at an April 5 fundraiser for Lavern Chatman, who is running for a Virginia congressional seat.

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

“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.