The Bill Comes Due for Nick Kristof’s Ill-Fated Run for Governor

The former journalist’s legal bills in his fight to qualify for the May ballot top $300,000.

Nicholas Kristof’s dismissal from the May ballot was not only painful for the first-time candidate and his supporters. It was expensive.

New filings with the secretary of state show that the Perkins Coie law firm billed the former New York Times journalist’s campaign nearly $275,000 on Feb. 25.

That tab covered the campaign’s argument to Secretary of State Shemia Fagan, the state’s top elections official, that Kristof met the state’s three-year residency requirement for gubernatorial candidates. Fagan disqualified Kristof from the Democratic primary Jan. 6, a decision built largely on the fact that he had voted in New York in November 2020.

Kristof’s campaign immediately appealed Fagan’s ruling to the Oregon Supreme Court, which apparently entailed significant legal work by the Perkins Coie team, led by Misha Isaak, the former counsel to Gov. Kate Brown.

But on Feb. 17, the state’s top court unanimously rejected the argument that Perkins Coie made on Kristof’s behalf: that since he’d grown up here, owned property in Oregon since the early 1990s, spent significant time in Oregon nearly every year since, and always considered himself an Oregonian, he should be allowed on the ballot.

Perkins Coie’s new bill comes on top of a $40,000 bill the firm presented Kristof for the analysis the firm circulated in response to a WW story that first raised the issue of his residency.

Kristof’s campaign now has $1.34 million remaining on hand.

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