Shemia Fagan Says She’s “Mostly Pissed Off Democrats and Progressives”

Fagan says Nicholas Kristof is simply one of seven candidates she’s disqualified since assuming office in 2021.

Oregon Secretary of State Shemia Fagan on Election Day 2020. (Alex Wittwer)

Responding to weeks of aspersions, Oregon Secretary of State Shemia Fagan says she expects her enforcement of election laws will both please and disappoint her campaign donors.

Sometimes, the same donor.

Appearing on WW’s podcast, Fagan pointed to the example of the United Food and Commercial Workers union. That’s the donor who spotted a technical flaw in the filing by campaign finance reformers—a ballot initiative that Fagan subsequently rejected. But the UFCW, Fagan notes, was also one of the earliest endorsers of Nicholas Kristof—whose bid for Oregon governor Fagan also quashed.

“The reality is, what you’re actually seeing is the very boring thing, which is that I’m just doing my job,” Fagan says. “I’m just applying the law. And let’s remember, I am a progressive Democrat. I ran as a progressive Democrat. And the two most controversial decisions I’ve made so far have mostly pissed off Democrats and progressives.”

Fagan joined the Dive podcast this week in the wake of the Oregon Supreme Court’s unanimous decision to affirm her ruling that Kristof, the former New York Times columnist, did not qualify for the May ballot.

Fagan says Kristof is simply one of seven candidates she’s disqualified since assuming office in 2021. But none of them created a bicoastal sensation with their runs for office. “It has not been a picnic the last couple of weeks,” she says.

In this episode, Fagan explains the pressure she felt from outside parties in making her decision, and she makes the case that the media have completely misinterpreted her ruling. She also answers questions about her rejection of three campaign finance reform petitions earlier this month—another ruling now headed to the Oregon Supreme Court.

Fagan’s not the only high-profile guest on the show this week. We also talk to Kristof’s attorney in the residency case, Misha Isaak, and he tells us the moment he changed his mind about whether his client was a resident of Oregon.

Listen on Apple Podcast.

Listen on Spotify.

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