Old Time columnist Kristof will have to deal with residency issues in court and during the election campaign.
Photo: Ilya S. Savenok / Getty Images

In at least one temporary blow to his 2022 gubernatorial bid, the former New York Time Columnist Nick Kristof received bad news today regarding his satisfaction with residency requirements in the state. Oregon Secretary of State Shemia Fagan has ruled that Kristof violated the state’s constitutional requirement of three years of continuous residency for all gubernatorial candidates. A subsequent letter from Fagan’s office noted that Kristof had voted in New York and had a New York driver’s license in 2020.

“The rules are the rules and they apply to all applicants for office in Oregon as well. I uphold the determination of the Oregon Electoral Division experts that Mr. Kristof does not currently meet the constitutional requirements to run for or serve as governor of Oregon, ”said Fagan.

Fagan, in this case, is an elected Democrat, like all Oregon state officials. Kristof is running in the closed Democratic primary scheduled for May 17.

The Oregon constitution does not define residency, leaving it in the hands of election officials. And that will be the basis of a legal action against the decision of the Kristof campaign, which has long underlined the candidate’s ties to the state where he grew up on a sheep farm and a cherry orchard (which he and his family still own. ).

Kristof’s initial reaction to Fagan’s decision, however, is revealing. He implicitly accuses him of having deliberately tried to bring him down in the name of a “failed political establishment”, presumably to shore up his “external” credibility in a state where current incumbents are not very popular.

Kristof doesn’t want to appear too “outside” of Oregon, of course. Best known for his global coverage of human rights abuses in various parts of the world, he also cited his long-standing concerns about the impact of globalization and technology on places like rural Oregon and people like the ailing blue collar workers of the state. workers.

Even if Kristof gets Fagan’s decision overturned, it unfortunately draws attention to the accusation that he is parachuted into the state as a national and global celebrity. He is far from the only prominent politician who will be labeled as a “carpetbagger” this year; in Pennsylvania, not one but two likely Republican candidates for the US Senate (TV doc Mehmet Oz and hedge fund mogul David McCormick) rushed to establish their residency in the state.

At a minimum, the residency challenge is a distraction for a Kristof campaign that will face voters in just five months. Maybe he can convert the scrutiny into a valuable name id.


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