In Short

Oregon Supreme Court takes up Kristof residency challenge

By: - January 12, 2022 4:13 pm

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Nick Kristof in front of the Oregon capitol. (Kristof campaign)

The Oregon Supreme Court will decide whether Nick Kristof is eligible to run for governor without requiring the Democratic hopeful to turn over any additional documents, according to a court order released Wednesday.

Secretary of State Shemia Fagan announced last Thursday that Kristof, a longtime New York Times columnist who returned to his family farm outside the rural community of Yamhill and launched a campaign for governor, didn’t meet a constitutional requirement to live in Oregon for three years prior to the November 2022 election.

Kristof appealed to the state Supreme Court the next day, and state attorneys responded Tuesday by asking the court to settle the matter quickly, and request more documents from Kristof if needed. County clerks must know whether he’s qualified by March 17 to include his name on the May primary ballot, and Kristof argues that any delays will make it harder for him to campaign and fundraise. 

In arguing that he was qualified to run for governor, Kristof and his attorneys have said he filed Oregon income taxes and grew his family’s business from 2019, indicating his investment in his home state. He declined to provide any supporting documents to election officials who questioned his residency, saying later that they hadn’t asked. 

Attorneys with the Oregon Department of Justice on Tuesday asked the court to consider requiring Kristof to turn over any relevant documents. Instead, the court order said the matter would be decided based on legal filings from each side and exchanges Kristof had with state election officials. His attorneys submitted a lengthy legal memo and arguments about previous cases, as well as affidavits from two friends, to the state’s Elections Division.

The court won’t hear oral arguments. Kristof’s attorneys have until Friday to file their first brief, and both sides will finish their legal filings by Jan. 26. The court decision will come sometime after Jan. 27.

In the meantime, Kristof has continued to campaign for governor. He has not reported any campaign finance transactions since Jan. 4, two days before Fagan announced he wasn’t qualified, but he has 30 days to report such transactions.

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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.