Longtime New York Times columnist Nick Kristof launches Democratic campaign for Oregon governor

Longtime New York Times columnist Nick Kristof officially launched his campaign for Oregon governor on Wednesday, joining a crowded Democratic primary.

Kristof, who grew up in Yamhill and returned to his family's farm a few years ago, has been publicly considering a run for governor for several months. He resigned from the New York Times earlier this month ahead of launching his campaign.

In an announcement video, Kristof described the Oregon of today as different and less promising than the state that welcomed his father, a World War II refugee who learned English working in a logging camp and went on to become a professor at Portland State University.

More than a quarter of his Yamhill County high school classmates are now dead because of drugs, alcohol, suicide or accidents, he said.

During the nearly four decades Kristof worked at the Times, he specialized in reporting on global humanitarian crises, winning top journalism prizes for his coverage of genocide in Darfur and the pro-democracy movement in China.

“I've never run for political office in my life, but I have spent a lifetime shining a light in the darkest corners of the globe, and it broke my heart when I returned from crises abroad only to find crises here at home," he said.

Kristof created a political action committee to fundraise for his campaign a little over two weeks ago and has yet to report any contributions. Under state law, candidates have to report spending or receiving money within 30 days.

His Democratic opponents have a leg up when it comes to fundraising and name recognition. So far, House Speaker Tina Kotek and Treasurer Tobias Read lead the pack,

Read has just under $275,000 in the bank, while Kotek has just under $285,000, according to campaign finance records at the state Elections Division. The Democratic primary also includes local elected officials and activists, including Yamhill County Commissioner Casey Kulla and Patrick Starnes, the 2018 Independent Party of Oregon nominee for governor.

Whoever wins the Democratic primary will likely face a three-way race with the Republican nominee and state Sen. Betsy Johnson, a longtime moderate Democratic lawmaker who filed to run as an independent earlier this month.

Johnson has more cash than any other candidate in the race, with just over $515,000 available to spend. She doesn't have to worry about a primary and can spend the next year focused on the November 2022 general election.

On the Republican side, Salem oncologist Bud Pierce, West Linn political consultant Bridget Barton and Sandy Mayor Stan Pulliam lead a pack of more than a dozen in fundraising. Pierce was the 2016 Republican nominee for governor in a special election, losing to current Gov. Kate Brown.


Oregon Capital Chronicle is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Oregon Capital Chronicle maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Les Zaitz for questions: info@oregoncapitalchronicle.com. Follow Oregon Capital Chronicle on Facebook and Twitter.

BUSTED: Oregon Republican will resign two months after moving to Nevada

State Rep. Bill Post, who thought he could continue in the Oregon Legislature despite moving to Nevada, found out otherwise and said in a statement Tuesday that he will resign his seat by Nov. 30.
The Keizer Republican and former broadcaster revised his plans and will resign more than two months after he announced in late September that he sold his Keizer house and moved to Nevada.

Post, who has served in the Legislature since 2013, initially planned to serve in the Legislature at least through the end of 2021 by continuing to visit his district once a month. In both a Facebook post and an interview with his hometown newspaper, Keizertimes, he said he was still deciding whether to finish his term, which ends in January 2023.

On Tuesday, Post said in a statement that he misunderstood residency requirements for legislators.

“My intent was to be open with my constituents about my move out of state and the steps I'd be taking to continue to fulfill my duties for the rest of my term to the best of my knowledge and ability," he said in his statement. “After further discussions with an elections attorney and talking it over with my wife, it appears that the best action I can take for my district and my family is to resign before my term is over and give my successor a chance to serve during the 2022 short legislative session."

Post did not respond to an email or voicemail left with his legislative office. A House GOP spokesman said he planned to speak only to his local newspaper.

Under state law, the Oregon Republican Party must nominate between three and five candidates who live in the district. The Marion and Yamhill county commissions will then meet jointly to choose the next representative from that list.

New legislative maps approved last month combine Keizer and large swaths of Salem in a single state House district where both Post and Democratic state Rep. Brian Clem of Salem reside. Clem does not intend to run for re-election.

Post will be the sixth Oregon legislator to leave office this year, though not the last.

State Sen. Kayse Jama, D-Portland, filled a Senate vacancy left when Shemia Fagan ascended to secretary of state and Sen. Bill Kennemer, R-Canby, replaced Alan Olsen after Olsen's resignation. Rep. Andrea Valderrama, D-Portland, replaced former Rep. Diego Hernandez after he resigned over sexual harassment allegations, Rep. Anna Scharf, R-Amity, replaced her former boss, Mike Nearmann, after his expulsion over allowing armed right-wing protesters into the locked Capitol and Rep. Christine Goodwin, R-Roseburg, replaced former Rep. Gary Leif after his July death.

State Sen. Chuck Riley, D-Hillsboro, plans to resign at the end of the year, and current Rep. Janeen Sollman, D-Hillsboro, announced in October that she'll seek the Senate appointment.

Oregon Capital Chronicle is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501(c)(3) public charity. Oregon Capital Chronicle maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Les Zaitz for questions: info@oregoncapitalchronicle.com. Follow Oregon Capital Chronicle on Facebook and Twitter.

Happy Holidays!