Kristof’s Case to Run for Governor

Update: Secretary of State Shemia Fagan determined that Nick Kristof does not meet the residency requirements to run for Governor. Factors working against him included his recent voting history in New York state and the fact that he is choosing to maintain his New York driver’s license.

Two-time Pulitzer Prize winner Nick Kristof is attempting to run for governor in Oregon, although it is unclear whether or not he meets the state’s three-year residency requirement to do so. 

Kristof claims to have always considered Oregon his home, stating that he grew up in Yamhill and now owns and operates a farm there, even while working and living in New York for many years. The problem now lies within the fact that he owns another house in Scarsdale, New York, and has voted in that state as recently as 2020 – much later than the Nov. 8., 2018 deadline for establishing residency in Oregon. 

Oregon’s constitution states that to run for governor, a U.S. citizen must have been a state resident for at least 3 years preceding the election. Kristof’s lawyers argue that this requirement was created so the candidate would be familiar with the state, and claim Kristof meets that expectation. 

To prove that Oregon is his home, Kristof has gone as far as saying he wants “to be cremated when I die so that my ashes can be spread on my family farm and on the Pacific Crest Trail in Oregon.”  

Three former Oregon Secretaries of State, Jeanne Atkins, Bill Bradbury, and Phil Keisling, believe Kristof is qualified to run for governor, writing in an op-ed that “a person should be presumed to be a resident of the place or places they consider to be home.”

While none of the three former Secretaries of State have endorsed Kristof, they remind the public that the outcome of Kristof’s case will affect more than just the potential candidate himself. 

“Residency is required by the Oregon Constitution, not just to hold office, but also to vote,” Atkins, Bradbury, and Keisling wrote. “Thus, when we consider who is and is not a resident, we are talking not just about one candidate for governor. We are also talking about the right to participate in our democracy for many of our fellow Oregonians.” 

Kristof’s lawyers added that if he is denied candidacy, the state is indirectly approving the residency requirement’s racist and exclusionary history, the intention being to keep people of color out of office.  

At this point in time, Kristof’s fate is up to Secretary of State Shemia Fagan. Fagan will be reviewing his case and hopes to come to a decision this week. 

By Momoko Baker