Oregon Supreme Court rules former New York Times columnist Nick Kristof can’t run for governor

Kristof, who had vowed to challenge the secretary of state’s decision last month, appeared to reluctantly accept the judges’ decision on Thursday.

“Today’s decision by the Supreme Court excluding me from the ballot is, of course, very disappointing,” Kristof said. tweeted. “But even though I won’t be on the ballot, I’m not giving up on our state. I know we can be better. I will continue to work to help people in difficulty, who lack opportunities and hope.

The decision comes a month after Oregon Secretary of State Shemia Fagan announced that her office was rejecting Kristof’s application to run for governor, noting that a gubernatorial candidate must have been “resident in that state” for three years prior to the election.

Among their reasons, officials noted that Kristof voted as a New York resident and held a New York driver’s license from 2000 to 2020, state Chief Electoral Officer Deborah Scroggin wrote in a letter. to Kristof last month. Although Kristof owned and maintained homes in New York and Oregon, officials said he spent most of his time away from Oregon, Scroggin added.

“The rules are the rules and they apply equally to every candidate running for office in Oregon,” Fagan, a fellow Democrat, said in January. “I stand by the determination of Oregon Electoral Division experts that Mr. Kristof does not currently meet the constitutional requirements to run for or serve as governor of Oregon.”

Kristof appealed the decision to the Oregon Supreme Court and accused the “establishment” and the “political class” of basing their decision on politics.

“My willingness to challenge the status quo is why state officials are trying to kick me out of the ballot,” Kristof said last month.

A representative for his campaign did not immediately respond to a request for further comment on Thursday.

In their ruling, the Oregon Supreme Court justices noted that their role “was not to assess the depth of [Kristof’s] emotional connection to Oregon or whether he was “Oregonian” enough; on the contrary, the case required the Court to decide two legal questions.

One of those legal issues was what it means to be a “resident of this state,” according to Oregon’s constitution. The second was whether the Oregon Secretary of State was required to conclude that Kristof met this legal standard.

“The Court explained that the use of the term ‘residence’ to establish a residency requirement for voting in Article II of the Oregon Constitution tied the meaning of that term to domicile,” the justices wrote, adding that by the mid-19th century, laws that included residency requirements to vote or hold public office were not only common, but were “mostly interpreted as requiring a domicile”.

Launching his campaign, Kristof spoke about his roots in Yamhill, Oregon, the opportunities he felt his upbringing in Oregon had given him, and the declining prospects for those he grew up with. He has repeatedly referred to Oregon as his home state. In his request to organize a committee of candidates, Kristof indicated his profession as “journalist, author, farmer”. On his campaign website, Kristof wrote that he and his wife, writer Sheryl WuDunn, had revitalized their family apple and grape farm.

Kristof, who had no political experience before launching his campaign, relied heavily on his 37-year career at The New York Times – where he was a foreign correspondent and Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist – saying that he “spent his life shining a light in the darkest corners of the globe. He resigned from the newspaper in October, just before announcing his race.

Kristof’s departure from the race will upend the contest to replace Oregon Governor Kate Brown (D). Other Democrats running in the May primary include former Oregon House Speaker Tina Kotek and state treasurer Tobias Read.

Felicia Sonmez contributed to this report.


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