Former New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof is ineligible to run for governor in Oregon next year, state officials said Thursday.
Kristof, a two-time Pulitzer Prize winner who left the newspaper in October, cannot seek the state’s top office in 2022 because he doesn’t meet the three-year residency requirement, according to Oregon Secretary of State Shemia Fagan.
“The rules are the rules and they apply equally to all candidates for office in Oregon,” Fagan said in a statement. “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.”
In a letter to Kristof, state officials said 2022 candidates for governor must have been residents since November 2019, but the former columnist only registered as an Oregon voter in December 2020.
“We requested additional information because this was insufficient to demonstrate residency for the entire residency period,” the letter obtained by CNN reads. “In this case, questions about your residency were also raised publicly.”
Oregon officials said Kristof had been registered to vote in New York from 2000 until December 2020, voting in the Empire State as recently as November 2020. He then registered to vote in Oregon on Dec. 28, 2020.
“During the relevant period, you owned and maintained homes in New York and in Oregon but spent most of your time away from Oregon,” the letter continued. “Before 2019, you spent ‘at least part of every summer’ in Oregon. You spent more time in Oregon since 2019.”
To satisfy the residency requirement, Kristof must have lived in Oregon for the “entire three-year period” starting in late 2019, but his decision to vote in New York “convincingly” suggests he lived in New York at least from November 2019 to December 2020, officials said.
“Therefore, we conclude that you have not met the residency requirement to appear on the ballot for Oregon governor in 2022,” the letter reads. “According to [state statute], your name may not be printed on the May 2022 primary ballot.”
Kristof, 62, who had been seeking to replace Gov. Kate Brown, a term-limited Democrat, vowed to appeal the ruling in court.
“This is a decision grounded in politics, not precedent,” Kristof said in a lengthy statement posted on Twitter. “The law is clearly on our side. My campaign will challenge the decision in court and we will win. We have great faith in the courts.”
Kristof said he owes he “entire existence” to Oregon, where his father first “put down roots” decades earlier as a refugee from war-torn eastern Europe.
“Oregon has provided a home to me and my family as those roots deepened,” Kristof said. “Because I have always known Oregon to be my home, the law says that I am qualified to run for governor.”
Kristof has told election officials in a sworn statement that he moved with his parents to a farm in Yamhill, Ore. in 1971 at age 12 and has considered the Beaver State to be his home since.
Attorneys for Kristof claim he has purchased additional acreage nearby in recent years and paid taxes on the properties. They also say Kristof filed Oregon income tax returns in 2019 and 2020.
But Fagan later told reporters Thursday that the decision wasn’t a close call.
“Oregon statute provides directly that … if a person casts a ballot in another state, they are no longer a resident of Oregon,” Fagan said. “It’s very, very simple.”
Kristof, who is seeking to run as a Democrat, has raised more than $2 million for his campaign, channeling high-profile contacts like philanthropist Melinda French Gates and actress Angelina Jolie, the New York Times reported.
With Post wires