New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof is considering a run to become Oregon’s next governor – and is reaching out to “high-level Democrats” on who could possibly work on his campaign, according to a report Friday.

Kristof, who grew up on a cherry and sheep farm in Yamhill in northern Oregon to later become a Times columnist and regular on CNN, has contacted campaign consulting firms and advisers in recent days on the potential run to replace term-limited Democratic Gov. Kate Brown, three sources close to the matter told Politico.

Kristof — a two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist known for covering human rights abuses and women’s rights issues — is having “mostly high-level” talks to assess if he could win by reviewing poll and focus group data. The 62-year-old is now getting close to making a decision, Politico reported.

“There is a real hunger for someone like Nick, who voters see as having a fresh way of thinking about problems the state is facing – and is an outsider,” political consultant Carol Butler, whose partner, New Republic publisher Win McCormack, is one of Oregon’s top Democratic donors, told Politico. “I think he would have the resources to run a very competitive race.”

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown speaks on Nov. 10, 2020, in Portland, Ore. Next year could be a pivotal one for women gubernatorial candidates. Brown will be the only female incumbent barred from seeking re-election by term limits. Six male governors also will be term-limited, opening an easier path to office for candidates.
Kristof may replace a term-limited Gov. Kate Brown.
AP

Kristof’s potential run was first reported by the Willamette Week in July. A poll including his name asked voters how they would feel about a journalist who grew up on a farm running for public office, the outlet reported.

“I have friends trying to convince me that here in Oregon, we need new leadership from outside the broken political system,” Kristof told the weekly newspaper at the time. “I’m honestly interested in what my fellow Oregonians have to say about that.”

Kristof said the Beaver State needs “someone with leadership and vision” while declining to indicate when he moved back to Oregon.

The Times reported a day later that Kristof decided to take a leave from the newspaper in June to mull a political campaign. A message seeking comment from Kristof was not immediately returned early Friday.

Democratic House Speaker Tina Kotek announced this week she intends to run, becoming the most prominent candidate to do so in what’s expected to be a crowded primary. Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum is also mulling a run, along with state treasurer Tobias Reed, according to the report.

Former United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (L) speaks with journalist Nicholas Kristof on stage at the 8th Annual Women In The World Summit at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts on April 6, 2017 in New York City.
New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof is considering a run to become Oregon’s governor and is reaching out to Democrats to work on his campaign.
WireImage

The victor of the Democratic party is believed to become the heavy favorite to win in November 2022, as President Biden took Oregon by roughly 16 points in 2020, Politico reported.

Butler, meanwhile, said the state’s voters are concerned with issues like income inequality and climate change, citing polling data.

“Nick Kristof is an Oregonian,” Butler told the outlet. “He lives here. This has always been his home. And he understands Oregon and the problems facing the state.”



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