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A Defiant Nicholas Kristof Says Oregon’s Political Establishment Won’t Sideline His Campaign for Governor

“The law is clearly on our side. We will challenge this decision and we will win.”

Democratic candidate for governor Nicholas Kristof vowed early this afternoon to appeal Secretary of State Shemia Fagan’s “troubling” decision earlier today to bar him from the May primary ballot.

“This is a decision grounded in politics, not in precedent,” Kristof said at an in-person press conference at the Friendly House in Northwest Portland. “The law is clearly on our side. We will challenge this decision and we will win.”

Kristof, a former New York Times journalist and first-time candidate, took issue with the letter Fagan’s elections compliance specialists sent him this morning, about 72 hours after his attorneys submitted 100 pages of documents arguing that he meets the state’s three-year residency requirements for candidates for governor. Kristof questioned whether the process to disqualify him was fair.

For instance, the letter of disqualification noted that Kristof did not provide copies of his Oregon income tax returns for 2019 and 2020.

“You paid income taxes in New York from 1999 to 2021,” the letter said. “You paid income taxes in Oregon in 2019 and 2020. You did not explain whether you filed Oregon income tax returns as a nonresident, a part-year resident, or a full-year resident.”

Kristof said this afternoon that the secretary of state’s officials never asked him for his tax returns, which he said he would have happily provided. He added that he will make his tax returns public later in the campaign, around the traditional April 15 deadline for payment.

In the meantime, Kristof said, he will continue campaigning as his legal team prepares to argue his case before the Oregon Supreme Court. He said Fagan’s decision is merely an attempt to silence his critique of the condition in which Oregon finds itself.

“We all know that Oregon can do better,” Kristof said. “The political establishment in this state doesn’t want to hear that. They’ve been in power for years and don’t have anything new to say.”