Update, 12:45 pm: Nick Kristof confirmed that he will appeal the state's ruling this afternoon, writing on Twitter: "A failing political establishment in Oregon has chosen to protect itself, rather than give voters a choice. We will challenge this decision in court, and we are confident we will prevail, because the law is on our side."
Original story: Oregon Democratic gubernatorial candidate Nick Kristof is not qualified to run for governor, because he doesn't meet the election's residency requirements, according to the Oregon Secretary of State's office.
"The rules are the rules and they apply equally to all candidates for office in Oregon," wrote Secretary of State Shemia Fagan Thursday morning. "As Oregon’s chief elections official, it is my responsibility to make sure all candidates on the statewide ballot are qualified to serve if elected."
Kristof, a former New York Times columnist who grew up in rural Oregon, formally announced his run for governor in October 2021. The announcement raised immediate questions around his eligibility, because Kristof had lived in New York state for the prior 20 years—voting as a registered New York state resident as recently as 2020. The Oregon Constitution mandates that candidates for governor must be an Oregon resident for at least three years prior to an election.
Asked by the state elections office to prove he met this requirement, Kristof has argued that his family farm in Yamhill County has always been his home. In a 100-page letter sent Monday to elections officials, Kristof's lawyers wrote that his longtime property investment and summer vacations in Oregon should be enough to prove that their client is a true Oregonian. His lawyers also argued that, if the state denied his explanation, it would be upholding the state's racist history of such residency requirements.
Yet Fagan's office said their decision to invalidate Kristof's candidacy is one based on equity.
Kristof is allowed to appeal this decision before the May primary election.
"If Mr. Kristof chooses to appeal, the Oregon Elections Division is committed to doing everything possible to allow Oregon courts to decide promptly," said Deborah Scroggin, the state's elections director. "My office remains focused on ensuring a fair process and meeting our March 17th deadline, after which clerks begin printing ballots."
Kristof's campaign did not respond to the Mercury's inquiry of his intent to appeal, but plans on holding a press conference later today to address it.
Kristof has collected more than $2.5 million in campaign donations since October. This is $1 million more than what his top Democratic rivals—House Speaker Tina Kotek and state Treasurer Tobias Read—have raised combined.