Court to Kristof: No, You Can't Run for Governor

Former 'Times' columnist doesn't meet residency requirements in Oregon
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 27, 2021 12:51 PM CDT
Updated Feb 17, 2022 1:04 PM CST

Update: Nicholas Kristof's attempt to segue from journalism to politics hit a giant roadblock on Thursday, when Oregon's Supreme Court declared him ineligible to run for governor, reports the Hill. The court agreed with a decision made by state election officials last month that the former New York Times columnist does not meet residency requirements. Kristof called the ruling "disappointing" but promised to "continue working to help people who are struggling." Our original story from October follows:

Like Al Gore and Sarah Palin before him, former New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof is moving from journalism to politics. Kristof, who joined the Times in 1984 and had been exploring a run for Oregon governor, formally announced Wednesday that he will be entering the Democratic primary, the Hill reports. In his announcement video, he drew a contrast between himself and "career politician" rivals including House Speaker Tina Kotek and State Treasurer Tobias Read. "I have never run for political office in my life. But I have spent a lifetime shining a light in the darkest corners of the globe,” Kristof said. "Nothing will change until we stop moving politicians up the career ladder year after year, even though they refuse to step up to the problems Oregon faces."

"It's hard to watch your home state struggle when you can make a difference on homelessness, education, jobs," Kristof tweeted Wednesday. Kristof, who grew up in rural Yamhill County and says he moved back to the family farm in 2019, tells KGW that if he is elected to succeed term-limited Gov. Kate Brown, his main priorities will be housing, education, and jobs. "There are so many areas we need to address," says Kristof. In his video, the 62-year-old notes that a quarter of the children he rode the school bus with are now dead and others have struggled with homelessness and addiction.

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A total of 10 Democrats, including Kristof, have now filed to run or announced their candidacies, as have around a dozen Republicans. Nigel Jaquiss at Willamette Week writes that Kristof "brings name recognition and a strong social media following to the race," but as an outsider candidate, he will have to overcome the "Democratic machine that has controlled the governor’s office since 1982." Jaquiss predicts that there will be "intense scrutiny" of whether Kristof—who voted in New York last November—meets the residency requirement to run. (More Nicholas Kristof stories.)

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