Kristof quits New York Times, moves closer to declaring campaign for Oregon governor
Nicholas Kristof on his family’s Yamhill farm. (Kristof Farms photo)
Longtime columnist Nicholas Kristof resigned from the New York Times Thursday morning, moving closer to announcing his campaign to be Oregon’s next governor.
Kristof, who lives on a farm outside Yamhill, has been on leave since June as he explored a potential race. Earlier this week, he set up a fundraising committee with the Oregon secretary of state, describing himself as a self-employed journalist, author and farmer.
His communication adviser, Kristen Grainger, described forming the committee as an important next step in the decision process, but said Kristof wouldn’t comment publicly until he decides to run and announces his campaign.
The newspaper’s announcement about his resignation quoted Kristof saying he assumed he would retire from the Times.
“But you all know how much I love Oregon, and how much I’ve been seared by the suffering of old friends there,” he said. “So I’ve reluctantly concluded that I should try not only to expose problems but also see if I can fix them directly.”
He told local media in July that friends were trying to convince him to run because the state needs “new leadership from outside the broken political system.”
Kristof is one of eight Democrats, including House Speaker Tina Kotek and Treasurer Tobias Read, to form a candidate committee. A dozen Republicans have also taken that step, which often serves as a precursor to a formal campaign announcement.
While he has higher national recognition than other candidates in the race to replace term-limited Gov. Kate Brown, political analysts are skeptical of his chances as a relative outsider. Pacific University professor Jim Moore, who studies Oregon politics, told the Capital Chronicle last month that Kristof would have to do a lot to make an impression on voters.
“He’s known among the however many (people) who read the New York Times and buy his books, but it’s not very many,” Moore said. “He’s got to do a lot of introducing, even way more than Tina Kotek, and then a lot of explaining why he would be a better choice than any of the other major candidates.”
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