Former New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof may claim Oregon is his home. The state’s Supreme Court disagrees, however.
Oregon’s highest court ruled Thursday that Kristof, a Democrat, is ineligible to run for governor because his claims of residency failed a legal test.
State law requires gubernatorial candidates to have lived in Oregon for at least three years.
As The Free Press reported last month, Kristof felt he had a case. He claimed that he had considered Oregon his home since his family moved there 50 years ago. He owns property there and has even expanded his holdings, media reports say.
“Because I’ve always known Oregon to be my home, the law says that I am qualified to run for governor,” he maintained, adding that he believed Oregon’s “political establishment” feared his candidacy and was intent on sabotaging it.
As it turned out, his candidacy self-imploded.
As state justices wrote in their opinion, “He remained registered to vote in New York and retained a New York driver’s license until late 2020, actions that are at odds with an intent to change his domicile to Oregon a year or more earlier.”
The court’s ruling in support of Oregon elections officials was unanimous, and validated the opinion of Secretary of State Shemia Fagan, a Democrat, who said Kristof’s claim of state residency “wasn’t a close call.” she added.
Fagan also said Kristof failed the “smell test” because tax and residency records, as well as the fact that he raised his children in New York, added to his driver’s license and voter registration as part of the “mountain” of evidence against him.
Kristof may have been sincere in his desire to be the next governor of Oregon. But the end of his quest allowed some of his ideological allies to snicker at him.
The liberal website Slate.com ranked Kristof at the top of its list for political figures for the week, noting he “was good for a laugh.”
“Before you opt to leave your gold-plated, tenured position as a columnist for the New York Times to try your hand in state politics, do run a quick eligibility check,” Slate noted.
Now, Slate added, Kristof is “just another unemployed wine tourist” because of his “amateur hour” politics.
“Politics 101 is learning to BS a residency requirement. Half of the Senate probably can’t even point out their home states on a map—it’s one of the big rectangles, uh, out there—though they can surely give a guided tour of Chevy Chase, Maryland,” Slate said.
“You will know Kristof is ready for political office when he’s able to pass an Oregon residency requirement while not even pretending to leave New York.”