Photograph: Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images Nicholas Kristof, the former New York Times reporter and columnist, announced Wednesday he is running for governor of Oregon, the state where he grew up.
Kristof, 62, is running as a Democrat to replace governor Kate Brown, who cannot run for re-election due to term limits.
Kristof grew up on a sheep and cherry farm in Yamhill, a town in the wine-producing Willamette Valley, and his family still owns land in the area.
When he announced his departure from the New York Times earlier this month, he wrote in a statement to staff: “You all know how much I love Oregon, and how much I’ve been seared by the suffering of old friends there. So I’ve reluctantly concluded that I should try not only to expose problems but also see if I can fix them directly.”
“It was hard to leave a job I loved, but it’s even harder to watch your home state struggle when you feel you can make a difference on issues like homelessness, education and good jobs,” he said on Facebook on Wednesday.
Kristof won a Pulitzer prize in 1990 along with his wife, Sheryl WuDunn, for their reporting on the the protests at Tiananmen Square in China. He won the award again in 2006 for columns about the Darfur conflict in Sudan.
Democrats in Oregon have overwhelming majorities in the Legislature and the party has held the governor’s office since 1987.
Kristof faces a crowded Democratic field, with Oregon House Speaker Tina Kotek and state Treasurer Tobias Read already among the gubernatorial candidates for the 2022 race.
About a dozen Republican candidates have also said they will run.