Democrat Nick Kristof asks the Oregon Supreme Court to overturn ruling he did not live in the state long enough to run for governor

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Democratic hopeful Nick Kristof on Friday filed a petition with the Oregon Supreme Court asking justices to overturn the state’s election officials’ decision that he does not meet the three-year residency requirement to run for governor.

The Oregon Constitution states that to run for governor, a candidate must “have been a resident of that state for three years prior to being elected.”

Democratic Secretary of State Shemia Fagan announced on Thursday that her agency’s election officials had determined that Kristof did not meet that bar, particularly because he had voted in New York State in the November 2020 general election. Officials also cited other information, including that the former New York Times columnist retained a New York driver’s license until December 2020 and continued to pay New York income taxes as well. -beyond the November 2019 deadline for a 2022 gubernatorial candidate to establish residency in Oregon.

In the Supreme Court review petition that Kristof’s lawyers filed on Friday, they argued that the court should allow Kristof to bypass the circuit court, where his appeal would normally begin under the law of the State, because any delay compromises the candidate’s ability to organize an effective campaign.

“Every day that passes between now and a judicial overturn of the Secretary of State’s decision is detrimental to Kristof, his supporters and the fairness of the Democratic primary,” Kristof’s lawyers wrote. “His ability to do the job of a candidate for governor – raising money, garnering support, attending campaign events – is gravely hampered now that the Secretary of State has announced to the public that he does not was not eligible. ” Lawyers noted that Oregon courts have not interpreted the specific constitutional residency requirement that applies to gubernatorial candidates.

[Read Kristof’s appeal to the Supreme Court here.]

[Read Kristof’s memorandum in support of the appeal here.]

Kristof and his wife, Sheryl Wu Dunn, own homes in Scarsdale, New York, and the town of Yamhill, Oregon, where Kristof grew up and now runs his family’s farm. Kristof said he had always considered Oregon his home country and returned to the state every summer with his family, although he spent most of his time in New York and overseas for work.

Kristof has raised around $ 2.5 million and would likely be one of the most competitive candidates in the Democratic primary, along with House Speaker Tina Kotek of Portland and State Treasurer Tobias Read of Garden Home.

However, Kristof’s lawyers said his candidacy was now “under the cloud created by the Secretary of State’s decision.” They reported on an earlier case in which an Oregon secretary of state referred to the opinion of a candidate for a state Senate on his own residence.

Legal observers have agreed with Kristof’s lawyers that the Supreme Court can consider legal issues that would otherwise start in lower courts, under an article in the state’s constitution that states that “the Supreme Court may , at its own discretion, exercise original jurisdiction in mandamus, quo warranto and habeas corpus proceedings.

“The Oregon Supreme Court does whatever it wants, as shown in its decision last year on the redistribution,” said Dan Meek, a Portland attorney who has experience with election law. state and is not associated with any candidate for governor. In the redistribution case, the state Supreme Court imposed new deadlines on state lawmakers to draw legislative and congressional districts due to enumeration delays – despite the state’s constitutional deadline for legislative redistribution.

“If they want to take the case, they will take the case,” Meek said. “I think they probably would.”

—Hillary Borrud


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