Former NYT Columnist Nicholas Kristof Declared Ineligible to Run for Governor of Oregon

The Oregon Elections Division and secretary of state rejected former New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof's bid to run for governor in the state in 2022 due to him not meeting the residency requirement.

Per Oregon law, a potential gubernatorial candidate must have lived in the state for at least three years prior to the election. Concerns arose when it was revealed that Kristof voted in New York in the November 2020 election.

Kristof's campaign argued he was an Oregon resident using a legal opinion from retired state Supreme Court Justice William Riggs saying Kristof had been a resident since at least November 2019, "and likely much longer." Kristof also argued that he moved to the state in 1971, and he has considered his family's farm there to be his home.

However, the Oregon Elections Division rejected the filing for governor, informing the campaign Thursday he did not meet the constitutional requirement. Oregon Secretary of State Shemia Fagan said she was inclined to agree with the division.

"The rules are the rules, and they apply equally to all candidates for office in Oregon," Fagan said. "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."

Oregon Elections Director Deborah Scroggin said Kristof can appeal the decision if he wants to.

Nicholas Kristof, Oregon
Oregon's secretary of state ruled Thursday that former New York Times journalist Nicholas Kristof is not eligible to run for governor of Oregon due to not meeting the residency requirement. Above, Kristof talks about his candidacy for governor of Oregon on October 27, 2021, in Portland, Oregon. Sara Cline, File/AP Photo

For years, Kristof was a globe-trotting foreign correspondent and columnist. The two-time Pulitzer Prize winner retired from the newspaper last year. Kristof's October announcement that he would run for governor as a Democrat generated a lot of interest, and he raised more than $1 million in less than a month.

Scroggin said that her division "is committed to doing everything possible to allow Oregon courts to decide promptly."

Kristof's campaign did not immediately respond to a request from the Associated Press for comment, including whether he planned to appeal the decision.

Lydia Plukchi of the secretary of state's office earlier said candidate eligibility is typically vetted by checking voter registration records, and since he had voted in New York, she asked Kristof for any additional "documentation or explanation" to show he was an Oregon resident for three years prior to November 2022.

Riggs said that Kristof's voting in New York would undermine his Oregon residency only if it established that he didn't intend Oregon to be his permanent home.

Kristof had pointed out that he moved as a 12-year-old with his parents to a farm in Yamhill, Oregon, in 1971, and has considered it to be his home ever since. He has purchased additional acreage nearby since then.

The 62-year-old Kristof, in his sworn statement, said that after he dies he wants to be cremated and his ashes spread on the farm and on the Pacific Crest Trail.

Democrats have held Oregon's governor's office since 1987, and others in the party running for the state's high office include Oregon House Speaker Tina Kotek and state Treasurer Tobias Read.

Republicans seeking their party's nomination include state Representative Christine Drazan, former Republican nominee Bud Pierce and Sandy, Oregon, Mayor Stan Pulliam.

Former Democratic state Senator Betsy Johnson is running as an independent.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.