Former NYT columnist Kristof launches Oregon governor run

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Nicholas Kristof, the Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist for The New York Times, announced on Wednesday that he was joining the crowded Oregon Democratic primary field for governor.

Former NYT columnist Kristof launches Oregon governor run
© Evan Agostini/Invision/AP Nicholas Kristof has been making moves to set up for a gubernatorial run for months.

Kristof has been making moves to set up for a gubernatorial run for months. POLITICO reported in early September that he has reached out to potential campaign staffers, and he left The Times earlier this month in order to further prepare for a run.

He kicked off his campaign on Wednesday with a biographical video highlighting his roots in the state and hitting the existing political system for not tackling homelessness or addiction.

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown, a Democrat, is term-limited. The post will likely stay in Democratic hands, and Kristof is far from a frontrunner in the field. He enters a primary to replace Brown that also includes state House Speaker Tina Kotek, state Treasurer Tobias Read and several other candidates. State Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum is also said to be considering a run.

The Republican field includes Bud Pierce, a doctor who was the party’s nominee in a 2016 special election. Brown defeated Pierce by about 7 points that year.

Elsewhere on the gubernatorial map: New Mexico Republican Mark Ronchetti, a TV weatherman who unsuccessfully ran for the state’s then-open Senate seat last year, also kicked off his bid for his state’s governorship on Wednesday.

Ronchetti launched with a video sharply critical of Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, who has already announced she will seek another term. He joins a crowded field, but he likely has the largest statewide profile because of his former job and previous campaign.

He lost to now-Democratic Sen. Ben Ray Luján in 2020 by about six points. President Joe Biden carried the state by about 10 points in 2020, and Lujan Grisham defeated then-Rep. Steve Pearce by 14 points in 2018 to flip the governorship.

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