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Oregon governor race will go on without Nick Kristof

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

Oregon Supreme Court has ruled that former New York Times columnist Nick Kristof cannot run for governor because he doesn't meet the residency requirements. Kristof quit his job at the Times last year to throw his hat in the ring for the state's top spot. Oregon Public Broadcasting's Lauren Dake has more.

LAUREN DAKE, BYLINE: The Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist lived in New York for most of the past two decades, but he grew up in Oregon, owns a farm in the state and argues he has always considered himself an Oregonian.

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NICHOLAS KRISTOF: I've been an Oregonian since I was a kid picking strawberries and raising sheep on the family farm. And I'll be an Oregonian until the day I draw my last breath and my ashes are scattered on that family farm I love.

DAKE: But Oregon state election officials and the state Supreme Court disagree. Oregon's constitution requires a candidate to live in the state three years before the election. Kristof voted in New York in 2020 and also held a driver's license in that state as recently as 2020. Oregon Secretary of State Shemia Fagan says it's not her role to examine whether a candidate had an emotional connection to the state but instead rely on the facts.

SHEMIA FAGAN: This matters. This matters because subjectivity in election law has an ugly history in Oregon and across the country of preventing people of color and women, immigrants and other historically marginalized people from full participation in our democracy.

DAKE: The Oregon Supreme Court's decision today dramatically changes the dynamics of the race to replace outgoing Governor Kate Brown. Kristof has far outpaced the other Democratic contenders in fundraising, bringing in more than $2.5 million. Kristof says he accepts the court's decision.

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KRISTOF: This ruling ends my campaign for governor of Oregon. But I want to be clear that I'm not going anywhere.

DAKE: Kristof says he plans to stay in Oregon and help address some of the issues, such as the housing crisis he campaigned on.

For NPR News, I'm Lauren Dake in Portland. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Lauren Dake