Former New York Times journalist Nicholas Kristof announces bid for Oregon governorship

The two-time Pulitzer Prize winner grew up in Oregon and has kept a residence there since 1993.

Updated: October 28, 2021 - 11:35am

Former New York Times journalist and two-time Pulitzer Prize winner announced his candidacy for the governorship of Oregon on Wednesday.

"I've never run for political office in my life," said Kristof in a campaign video, adding that he felt moved to run now because after spending a career covering crises around the globe, he was distraught to see crises in his home state.

"Nothing will change until we stop moving politicians up the career ladder year after year, even though they refuse to step up to the problems Oregon faces," said Kristof. 

Kristof specifically identifies issues like drug addiction, homelessness, unaffordable housing, and an escalating homicide rate in Portland as issues that politicians have not been able to meaningfully resolve.

The journalist joins a growing list of Democrats vying for the nomination, including the speaker of the Oregon House and the state treasurer. A Democrat has been in the governor's mansion in Oregon since 1987. Current governor Kate Brown will be termed out in 2022 and cannot run again.

About a dozen Republican candidates have also announced runs for their party's nomination. Primaries for both parties will take place on May 17. 

"I think we do need to try to build some bridges and try to knit this state together," said Kristof. "I would hope that, perhaps as a liberal from a rural area, I may have some advantage in trying to do that." 

According to the law, a candidate must have been a resident of the state for three years prior to an election. Records indicate that Kristof voted in 2020 in New York. He says he "wasn't focused on paperwork" at the time. "I was focused on voting to remove President Trump." 

Kristof and his wife purchased a 150-acre property in Yamhill, Ore., in 1993, which they have worked and paid Oregon property taxes on. Kristof, who departed the NYT earlier this month, has written on many occasions about the economic issues that plague Oregon and the people with whom he grew up. As the area's manufacturing and timber economy collapsed, the region's drug use skyrocketed, ultimately taking the lives of many of the people Kristof knew as a child. 

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