Nicholas Kristof, an award-winning columnist for The New York Times, is considering a bid for governor of Oregon.
Kristof, who grew up on a farm in Yamhill, about 25 miles west of Portland, said in a statement that friends were trying to recruit him into the race to replace Gov. Kate Brown, a Democrat who is prevented from running for reelection by term limits. Last month, he decided to take a leave from The Times to consider the possibility of a political campaign.
Any bid for governor would most likely be difficult for an outsider, even one with local roots and a national media platform. At least six candidates are considering entering the race, including the state treasurer, the speaker of the state’s House of Representatives, the state attorney general and a top union leader. News of Kristof’s potential candidacy was earlier reported by The Willamette Week.
Kristof, 62, is known for his coverage of human rights abuses and women’s rights, winning Pulitzer Prizes for his reporting on the Tiananmen Square protests in China and on genocide in Darfur.
Last year, he published a book, “Tightrope: Americans Reaching for Hope,” with his wife, Sheryl WuDunn, that explored stories of poverty, addiction and inequality through the stories of several of his childhood schoolmates.
He became more involved in managing his family farm two years ago, when he returned to the state with WuDunn, to transition its business from growing cherries to cider apples and wine grapes.
“Although Nick has not made up his mind about whether to pursue a political candidacy, we agreed he’d go on leave from the Times, in accordance with Times standards, after he brought this possibility to our attention last month,” said Danielle Rhoades Ha, a spokeswoman for the newspaper.
Kristof said in his statement that he was interested in hearing what Oregonians thought about his possible bid.
“I have friends trying to convince me that here in Oregon, we need new leadership from outside the broken political system,” he said. “All I know for sure is that we need someone with leadership and vision so that folks from all over the state can come together to get us back on track.”