SALEM, Ore. – Elections officials in Oregon are seeking more information to determine whether former New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof is eligible to run for governor.
Kristof announced his candidacy last October and on Monday officially filed paperwork to run as a Democrat.
Oregon Public Broadcasting reported that the Oregon Secretary of State’s office on Tuesday asked Kristof's campaign for information to determine whether Kristof meets candidate residency requirements.
Oregon state law says candidates for governor must be state residents for at least three years before elections.
A legal opinion by lawyers working for Kristof said he has always considered Oregon his home, even though his job required him to live around the world. Kristof said he wants to run for governor in the state where he grew up to address problems like rural poverty and drug addiction.
Kristof and his wife, Sheryl WuDunn — who also was a New York Times reporter — bought a 150-acre (61-hectare) property in the small city of Yamhill, about an hour's drive from Portland, in 1993.
In a letter to Kristof, Lydia Plukchi of the secretary of state's office said candidate eligibility is typically vetted by checking voter registration records “but your Oregon voter registration has insufficient information.”
She added: “In addition, it has come to our attention that you voted in New York State as recently as 2020. Our office has reviewed the published legal memo concerning your residency in Oregon, but the memo does not address the effect of that vote on your Oregon residency.”
Plukchi asked that Kristof to respond with “any documentation or explanation in addition to your published legal memo” to show he was an Oregon resident for three years prior to November 2022, when the general election for governor will be held.
Kristof's announcement that he would run for governor generated a lot of interest and he raised more than $1 million in less than a month.
Democrats have held the governor's office since 1987, and others in the party running for the state's high office include Oregon House Speaker Tina Kotek and state Treasurer Tobias Read.
Republicans seeking their party’s nomination include state Rep. Christine Drazan, former Republican nominee Bud Pierce and Sandy Mayor Stan Pulliam.
Former Democratic state Sen. Betsy Johnson is running as an independent.