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Ex-NYT columnist Kristof declared ineligible to run for Oregon governor

Former New York Times journalist Nicholas Kristof talks about his candidacy for Oregon governor on Oct. 27 in Portland. (AP Photo)

Former New York Times journalist, Nicholas Kristof, has been told by election officials in the US state of Oregon that he does not meet the residency requirements to run for state’s governor.

According to Oregon's state constitution, a candidate must be "a resident within this state" for at least three years before he intends to contest an election. Kristof has been a resident since November 2019.

"As Oregon's chief elections official, it is my responsibility to make sure all candidates on the statewide ballot are qualified to serve if elected," Oregon Secretary of State Shemia Fagan said in a statement.

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

Kristof, the two-time Pulitzer Prize winner and a globe-trotting foreign correspondent and columnist, said he would challenge the decision in court and would continue his bid for governor.

"The Secretary of State has attempted to remove me from the ballot in this year's governor's race. This is a decision grounded in politics, not precedent. The law is clearly on our side. Our campaign will challenge this decision in court, and we will win," he said at a press conference on Thursday.

The farmer-turned-journalist also tweeted his statement, vowing to “challenge this politically motivated ruling in court”, adding that his campaign was “moving forward”.

Deborah Scroggin, Oregon elections director, said if Kristof chooses to appeal, the Oregon Elections Division is committed to doing “everything possible” to allow  Oregon courts to decide  promptly.

Kristof, 62, announced that he was running for governor in October last year, saying he hoped to address systemic social issues in the state where he grew up on his family's sheep and cherry farm. He also pledged to tackle homelessness, poverty, drug addiction and inadequate education.

His attempt to run as a Democrat for governor generated tremendous interest, and he managed to raise more than $1 million in less than a month.

Kristof and his wife, Sheryl Wu Dunn, own homes in New York and the Oregon town of Yamhill. He reportedly voted in New York in November 2020, well after the Nov. 8, 2019.

Democrats have held the office of Oregon governor since 1987. Others running for the state’s highest office this time include Oregon House Speaker Tina Kotek and state Treasurer Tobias Read.

Republicans seeking their party’s nomination for the election include Rep. Christine Drazan, former Republican nominee Bud Pierce and Sandy Mayor Stan Pulliam, according to reports. 

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