Former New York Times Columnist Nick Kristof Booted From Oregon Gov. Ballot

Election officials in Oregon have decided that former New York Times journalist Nicholas Kristof has not lived in the state long enough to run for governor, though Kristof plans to appeal the decision.

Officials determined Kristof, a two-time Pulitzer Prize winner who worked as a columnist and foreign correspondent for the Times, had not been a “resident within this state” for the three years leading up to the 2022 gubernatorial election.

“The rules are the rules and they apply equally to all candidates for office in Oregon,” said Secretary of State Shemia Fagan. “I stand by the determination of the experts in the Oregon Elections Division that Mr. Kristof does not currently meet the Constitutional requirements to run or serve as Oregon Governor.”

Kristof left the Times last summer and announced a run for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination in October. At the time, he said he had lived in Oregon since 2019 — though he voted in the 2020 presidential election in New York state.

Kristof on Thursday characterized the decision as one member of Oregon’s Democratic political establishment protecting her allies from an outsider campaign.

“A failing political establishment in Oregon has chosen to protect itself, rather than give voters a choice,” he wrote on Twitter. “We will challenge this decision in court, and we are confident we will prevail, because the law is on our side.”

There is no clear-cut definition of residency in Oregon or in many other states. Kristof has owned property in his hometown of Yamhill, a tiny city 25 miles southwest of Portland, since the 1990s. But his family also owned a home in suburban Westchester County in New York, and he and his wife sent their children to school there.

In a letter to Kristof obtained by The Oregonian, the secretary of state’s office focused on Kristof’s decision to maintain his New York voter registration and driver’s license until 2020.

At a press conference explaining her decision, Fagan said election officials told her the decision to reject Kristof’s candidacy “wasn’t even a close call,” even though he deployed “creative legal arguments and an impressive PR campaign.”

While Kristof has a degree of national prominence — at least among the type of people who read The New York Times — he was less well-known in Oregon than two rivals for the Democratic nomination, state House Speaker Tina Kotek and state Treasurer Tobias Read. (Kotek said Thursday she would soon resign from her House seat to focus on the governor’s race full time.) But Kristof has managed to raise $2.5 million for his campaign, enough to make him a serious contender.

Democrats have held Oregon’s governorship since the 1980s, and incumbent Gov. Kate Brown is term limited. The Democratic and Republican primaries in the state are set for May 17.

Jennifer Bendery contributed reporting.

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