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The award-winning newspaper columnist grew up in Oregon and is considering a run for the Democratic primary in 2022.

COURTESY PHOTO - Nicholas KristofNew York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof is "thinking about" a run for Oregon governor in 2022.

Kristof, a Democrat, confirmed the news, which was first reported by Willamette Week, in an email this week. Willamette Week said Kristof's name had appeared in recent exploratory polls.

"I have friends trying to convince me that here in Oregon, we need new leadership from outside the broken political system. I'm honestly interested in what my fellow Oregonians have to say about that," Kristof told KOIN 6 News after the story broke.

"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," he said.

Kristof has been a columnist for the Times since 2001. According to his biography, he grew up on a farm in Oregon's Yamhill County. He and his wife have three children.

The husband and wife team published a new book, "Tightrope," last year that explored the empty promises of the American Dream in rural areas, including for Kristof's childhood friends in Yamhill. He also reported live from the downtown federal courthouse during last year's protests.

The 62-year-old took a leave of absence from the NYT last month when he began mulling his political ambitions, per the paper.

Kristof, who does not have prior elected experience, would face stiff competition from a slew of veteran politicos angling to replace the term-limited current governor, Kate Brown.

Among the likely hopefuls are Multnomah County Chair Deborah Kafoury, union leader Melissa Unger, Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum, Bureau of Labor and Industries Commissioner Val Hoyle and State Treasurer Tobias Read, according to Willamette Week.

KOIN 6 News is a media partner of the Portland Tribune. Click here to read KOIN's story.

Zane Sparling
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