Updates to our Terms of Use

We are updating our Terms of Use. Please carefully review the updated Terms before proceeding to our website.

Monday, June 24, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Pulitzer winner Nicholas Kristof deemed ineligible to run for Oregon governor

New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof's summer home and 2020 voter registration do not sufficiently tie him to the Beaver State.

(CN) — Nicholas Kristof announced his run for Oregon’s governor in October, shortly after he resigned his post at the New York Times. Now it seems that may have been premature. Oregon Secretary of State Shemia Fagan’s office notified his campaign on Thursday that he fell short of the state’s three-year residency requirement.

“While there have been creative legal arguments and an impressive PR campaign, our elections officials told me it wasn’t even a close call,” Fagan said Thursday.

Records showed Kristof has been registered to vote in New York for the last two decades. He didn’t register to vote in Oregon until Dec. 28, 2020, after the last presidential election, according to a letter sent to Kristof’s campaign Thursday. Under the residency requirement, Kristof needed to be registered as an Oregon voter as of November 2019 to qualify for the upcoming governor’s race.

He also maintained a New York driver’s license during that same 20-year period, paid income taxes in New York and, although he owned a second home in Oregon during that time, spent only a portion of each summer in the Beaver State.

“In evaluating whether a person meets Oregon residency requirements, we consider a ‘residence’ to be a place in which a person’s habitation is fixed and to which, when they are absent, they intend to return,” states the letter signed by Oregon Elections Director Deborah Scroggin.

Current Governor Kate Brown was appointed in 2015 and reelected twice, so she can't run again due to term limits. Kristof would have faced some heavy hitters in the May primary, with the race for Democratic candidate including Oregon House Speaker Tina Kotek and State Treasurer Tobias Reed. Kristof has vastly outraised his rivals, raking in $2.5 million so far.

Kristof’s campaign did not respond to requests for comment, but said in a tweet he plans to appeal the decision.

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

He filed the appeal Friday.

The secretary of state’s office said in Thursday’s letter that it would do “everything possible to allow Oregon courts to decide the matter promptly” in the event of an appeal.

“To be clear, it is not the elections division’s role to determine whether any candidate is sufficiently ‘Oregonian,’ to examine the depth or sincerity of a candidate’s emotional connection to Oregon, to assess the number of a candidate’s supporters or the magnitude of their fundraising, or to comment in any way on the merits of a candidacy,” the letter states. “Rather, our role is to determine whether candidates meet the minimum threshold for Oregon residency required by Oregon law. We conclude that, at this time, you do not.”

Follow @@karinapdx
Categories / Government, Media, Politics, Regional

Subscribe to Closing Arguments

Sign up for new weekly newsletter Closing Arguments to get the latest about ongoing trials, major litigation and hot cases and rulings in courthouses around the U.S. and the world.