The Oregon Supreme Court announced Wednesday it will hear Nicholas Kristof’s case to determine if he is eligible to run for governor.
According to the Associated Press, Chief Justice Martha Walter signed a court order demanding Oregon Secretary of State Shemia Fagan to accept Kristof’s candidacy for the Democratic gubernatorial primary or provide justification for noncompliance.
On January 6, Fagan announced Kristof was ineligible to run in the 2002 governor’s race because he failed to meet the three-year residency requirement in the state’s constitution.
“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 stated in a news release.
In response to Fagan’s decision, Kristof filed a petition with the state’s Supreme Court asking justices to take on the case and overturn the ruling. Because ballots for the state’s primary elections must be finalized by March 17, both parties agreed to stick to a tight schedule so the court can hear and rule on the case.
Both Kristof and Fagan must submit briefs this month, and the court will begin deliberation without hearing oral arguments.
“It’s wonderful news that the Oregon Supreme Court will take up my residency case on an expedited basis,” Kristof told the AP in a statement released from his spokesperson.
Kristof, a former New York Times columnist and Pulitzer Prize Winner who grew up in Yamhill, Oregon, announced his campaign in October. Despite living overseas and in New York, Kristof said he always considered himself an Oregonian. An August 2021 memo from his legal team also cited his owning property in Yamhill County as a condition to meet the residency requirement in the state.
However, records show he voted in New York during the 2020 election.
“If a person casts a ballot in another state, they are no longer a resident of Oregon. It’s very, very simple,” Fagan said last week during a press conference.
Fagan stated this fact supersedes Kristof’s residency claim.
In a live-streamed press conference on January 6th, Kristof said he considers himself a political outsider, and Oregon politicians view him as a threat.
“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 posted on his Twitter account.
As part of his case, Kristoff’s campaign obtained an opinion from William Riggs, a retired Oregon Supreme Court Justice, about his residency. In the opinion, Riggs said Kristof voting in New York would “only undermine his residency if it established he didn’t intend for Oregon to be his permanent home.”