Campaign

Ex-NYT columnist Kristof launches Oregon governor bid

Former New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof said Wednesday he would formally enter the race to become Oregon's next governor, setting up a race against what he called a system rigged against ordinary residents.

Kristof, 62, has never run for public office. He left his job at the Times earlier this month and set up a political committee that would allow him to raise money and hire staff ahead of an official bid.

The native Oregonian moved back to his family's farm in Yamhill, southeast of Portland, a few years ago. On the paperwork establishing a committee, he listed his occupation as a journalist, author and farmer.

"I have never run for political office in my life, but I have spent a lifetime shining a light in the darkest corners of the globe," Kristof said in a video announcing his campaign. "Nothing will change until we stop moving politicians up the career ladder year after year, even though they refuse to step up to the problems Oregon faces."

Kristof will face a competitive Democratic primary in the race to succeed Gov. Kate Brown (D), who faces term limits next year. House Speaker Tina Kotek (D) and state Treasurer Tobias Read (D) have already entered the race, and Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum (D) is said to be exploring a run too.

The winner of the Democratic primary will be favored in a state that has not elected a Republican governor since 1982. But Republicans have come close to capturing the state several times in recent years; no Democrat has won more than 51 percent of the vote since former Gov. John Kitzhaber (D) won the second of his four terms in 1998.

Outbrain