Former New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof, who left the liberal newspaper after 37 years to run for Oregon governor only to be ruled ineligible, has vowed to challenge the “politically motivated” decision and predicted he would still win the election.
“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,” Kristof tweeted on Thursday following Oregon Secretary of State Shemia Fagan’s announcement that the former liberal columnist failed to meet the state’s residency standards.
“The rules are the rules and they apply equally to all candidates for office in Oregon. I stand by the determination of the experts in the Oregon Elections Division that Mr. Kristof does not currently meet the Constitutional requirements to run or serve as Oregon Governor,” Fagan said in a statement.
“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. The Oregon Elections Division and local election officials use the same standards to determine qualifications for hundreds of candidates in dozens of offices every year,” Fagan continued. “In this instance, the candidate clearly does not meet the constitutional requirement to run or serve as governor of Oregon.”
Oregon Elections Director Deborah Scroggin issued a statement declaring that “the Oregon Elections Division is committed to doing everything possible to allow Oregon courts to decide promptly” if the former Gray Lady columnist appeals – which is exactly what Kristof plans to do.
Kristof later offered prepared remarks in which he elaborated on his plans to challenge the decision.
“The status quo is defending itself. In defiance of case law and common sense, and in conflict with three former secretaries of state and a former Oregon Supreme Court Justice, the Secretary of State has attempted to remove me from the ballot in this year’s governor’s race. This is a decision grounded in politics, not precedent. The law is clearly on our side. My campaign will challenge the decision in court, and we will win,” he said. “We have great faith in the courts. We’re going to continue campaigning for governor, and we’re going to win that, too.”
The liberal columnist-turned-candidate called the decision to rule him ineligible “troubling,” and said he’s an outsider so the “political establishment” sees him as a threat.
“So instead of working to end homelessness, they’re working to end my candidacy,” Kristof said.
“To join this race, I left a job that I loved because our state cannot survive another generation of leaders turning away from people they pledged to serve,” he continued. “I owe my entire existence to Oregon. While my willingness to challenge the status quo is the reason state officials are trying to toss me from the ballot, that’s also the reason I’m going to win this race and become Oregon’s next governor.”