In Short

Nick Kristof returning to the New York Times after failed run for Oregon governor

By: - August 1, 2022 12:31 pm

Nick Kristof speaks at his campaign headquarters on Feb. 17, 2022, following the Oregon Supreme Court's ruling that he couldn't run for governor. He now plans to resume writing columns for the New York Times later this fall. (Alex Baumhardt/Oregon Capital Chronicle)

Columnist Nick Kristof is headed back to the New York Times less than a year after he quit to begin an ill-fated campaign for governor of Oregon. 

Kristof, who grew up in Yamhill County, previously wrote for the Times from 1984 to October 2021. He then began running for governor as a Democrat, but his campaign ended months before the primary after the Oregon Supreme Court upheld Secretary of State Shemia Fagan’s decision that he hadn’t lived in the state long enough to meet a constitutional requirement for running for office.

Candidates for governor this fall needed to establish residency by November 2019. Kristof voted in New York in November 2020 and didn’t register to vote in Oregon until December 2020. 

He maintained that he had always been an Oregon resident, and that maintaining a home in New York didn’t mean he gave up his family’s farm in rural Yamhill County. He didn’t provide documents, such as tax returns, to prove his residency in Oregon, and he repeatedly ignored requests from the Oregon Capital Chronicle for those documents. 

Since his political campaign ended, Kristof has continued a Substack blog, launched a new hard cider with apples from his family’s farm and worked on a memoir. The Times announced his return on Monday, saying he’ll resume publishing columns later this fall after completing his book. 

“In his ‘farewell’ column before running for governor of Oregon, Nick Kristof mentioned that when William Safire was asked if he would give up his Times column to be secretary of state, he replied, ‘Why take a step down?’” wrote the paper’s opinion editor, Kathleen Kingsbury. “Now Nick is stepping up, resuming his opinion column and once again interpreting the world’s depth and complexity for Times readers.”

Kristof still has nearly $1 million in his campaign bank account after giving tens of thousands to Democratic state and local candidates, including gubernatorial nominee Tina Kotek. The Times’ ethics policy prohibits employees from giving money to or raising money for political candidates or causes. 

He told the Capital Chronicle via email that he intends for the remainder of his campaign money to go toward a “pay-it-forward” job-training program run through Future Ready Oregon, the $200 million workforce training investment the Oregon Legislature passed this year.

Other states have versions of this program, which provide money for training and other costs to students from marginalized backgrounds. After graduation, the students who succeed in finding good jobs repay those costs, and those payments go toward helping new groups of students.

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Julia Shumway
Julia Shumway

Julia Shumway has reported on government and politics in Iowa and Nebraska, spent time at the Bend Bulletin and most recently was a legislative reporter for the Arizona Capitol Times in Phoenix. An award-winning journalist, Julia most recently reported on the tangled efforts to audit the presidential results in Arizona.

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