Columnist Nicholas Kristof is leaving the New York Times as he considers running for governor in Oregon. His departure is the surest sign yet that he plans to make a full pivot from journalism to politics.
Kristof has been on leave from his column as he mulled the bid. According to The New York Times, the paper’s opinion editor Kathleen Kingsbury praised Kristof in an email to staff for “elevating the journalistic form to a new height of public service with a mix of incisive reporting, profound empathy and a determination to bear witness to those struggling and suffering across the globe.”
Kristof, an Oregon native, joined the newspaper in 1984 and is the recipient of two Pulitzer Prizes. In a statement sent to the paper’s staff, Kristof said working for the Times “has been my dream job” and added that he was resigning “very reluctantly.”
“I’ve gotten to know presidents and tyrants, Nobel laureates and warlords, while visiting 160 countries,” Mr. Kristof said in his statement. “And precisely because I have a great job, outstanding editors and the best readers, I may be an idiot to leave. But 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.”
The move comes two days after Kristof filed to organize a candidate committee, which allows him to raise money and hire staff.
Carol Butler, a Kristof adviser, told CBS News on Tuesday, “”Nick has been exploring this race for governor for a few months.” She said launching the committee was “an important next step,” but was not a formal announcement.
Oregon’s current Democratic Governor Kate Brown cannot run again due to term limits. Several other candidates have already entered the race, including Oregon House Speaker Tina Kotek and Oregon State Treasurer Tobias Read.