SALEM, Ore. (AP) — The Oregon Supreme Court ruled Thursday that former New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof is not eligible to run for governor because he does not meet the state’s three-year residency requirement.
The justices upheld a decision by Oregon election officials that Kristof did not meet the qualifications to run for Oregon’s highest office, citing in particular that Kristof voted in New York in the 2020 election.
Questions about Kristof’s residency had dogged him even before he announced his candidacy in October, the same month that The New York Times announced he had resigned. According to Oregon law, candidates for governor must have been a residents of this state for at least three years before elections.
Kristof in a tweet called the ruling “of course, very disappointing.”
He added: “But while I won’t be on the ballot, I’m not giving up on our State. I know we can be better.”
The two-time Pulitzer Prize winner for years was a globe-trotting foreign correspondent and columnist and Kristof’s attempt to run as a Democrat for governor generated a lot of interest. He has raised $2.7 million in campaign donations.
Kristof, 62, told election officials in a sworn statement 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. His lawyers said he has paid taxes on the properties and that he filed Oregon income tax returns for 2019 and 2020.
Oregon Elections Director Deborah Scroggin and Compliance Specialist Lydia Plukchi told Kristof they rejected his filing for governor because he didn’t meet the constitutional requirements to be a candidate.
Kristof’s attorneys told the Supreme Court that the secretary of state’s broad interpretation of the Constitution’s requirements for governor may disfavor candidates like Kristof who frequently travel and maintain multiple residences.
Kristof regularly visited his Oregon property, which he expanded over the years after moving away to attend Harvard and Oxford universities before joining the Times.
Three former Oregon secretaries of state sided with Kristof, saying in a newspaper opinion article that “a person should be presumed to be a resident of the place or places they consider to be home.”
“It is clear he considers Oregon ‘home,’” Jeanne Atkins, Bill Bradbury and Phil Keisling wrote, referring to Kristof.
Democrats have held Oregon’s governor’s office since 1987. Candidates currently running for governor include Oregon House Speaker Tina Kotek and state Treasurer Tobias Read.
After the ruling preventing Kristof from running was issued, Kotek tweeted that Kristof‘s “voice will continue to be important as we tackle Oregon’s biggest issues. I look forward to working with him as a fellow Democrat.”
Republicans seeking their party’s nomination include state Rep. Christine Drazan, former Republican nominee Bud Pierce and Sandy Mayor Stan Pulliam.
Former Democratic state Sen. Betsy Johnson is running as an independent.
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