The Oregon Supreme Court will weigh in on whether former New York Times columnist Nick Kristof meets the state’s residency requirement to run for governor.
Last week, Secretary of State Shemia Fagan ruled Kristof does not qualify to run for governor. The state’s Constitution requires a person to live in Oregon for three years before running for governor, and Fagan ruled Kristof did not meet the requirement.
Kristof filed a petition with the Oregon Supreme Court asking justices to overturn Fagan’s ruling, and has argued for months that he has always considered Oregon to be his home. Kristof grew up in Yamhill County and has long maintained property in the area.
“This is good news. We’re delighted they decided to hear the case, and I think it’s a good thing this is going to be dealt with quickly,” Carol Butler, Kristof’s campaign manager, said.
Kristof campaign officials have argued the state’s highest court should rule on questions to his residency swiftly. The deadline for candidates to qualify for the May primary ballot is March 17.
The court will not hear oral arguments. Documents from both the secretary of state’s office and Kristof are due to the court by Jan. 26.
The case will likely be the first time the court rules on the constitutional residency requirements for an Oregon governor.
“In order to satisfy the three-year residency requirement, you must have been a resident in Oregon for the entire three-year period beginning in November 2019,” Oregon elections director Deborah Scroggin wrote in a letter to Kristof last week. “But the objective facts, including your decision to vote in New York, convincingly suggest that you resided in New York at least from November 2019 to December 2020.”
Kristof spent much of his life outside the state, living in New York and traveling the world as a journalist.
Fagan said Kristof’s arguments that he always considered himself an Oregonian “are simply dwarfed by the mountains of objective evidence that until recently he considered himself a New York resident.”
Kristof has maintained Fagan, a longtime political fixture in the state with ties to labor unions, based her decision on “politics, not precedent.”
This story will be updated.
Dirk VanderHart contributed to this report.