Columnist Nicholas Kristof will leave The New York Times to consider running for governor of Oregon, The Hill reported.
Kristof on Tuesday filed papers to form a committee that will allow him to raise money and hire staff for a potential campaign as a Democrat, The Hill said. Kristof, 62, has been on leave from the Times since June while he explored the run.
An adviser to Kristof insisted no final decision had been made about a gubernatorial run.
The columnist's departure from the newspaper was announced in an email to staff. Kristof included a statement in which he called his Times position a "dream job" that let him travel the world, in spite of a bout with malaria, a plane crash in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and the occasional arrest.
"Precisely because I have a great job, outstanding editors, and the best readers, I may be an idiot to leave," Kristof said in his statement, The Hill reported. "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."
Times publisher A.G. Sulzberger told staff, "It's hard to overstate how much I'll miss [Kristof] as a reader and as a colleague."
Kristof in July told an Oregon weekly newspaper that he was considering a run for governor.
A two-time Pulitzer Prize-winner for reporting on human rights abuses, Kristof was raised on a sheep and cherry farm about an hour southwest of Portland.
His family owns a farm in the area, where he and his wife, fellow Pulitzer Prize-winning author Sheryl WuDunn, have been growing their own grapes.
The Hill reported that papers filed with Oregon's secretary of state's office said Kristof would run for governor as a Democrat in a state that last elected a Republican governor in 1980.
No Democrat gubernatorial candidate, however, has won more than 51% of the vote since 1998, when John Kitzhaber won the second of four terms, The Hill said.
Other Democrat candidates already have announced plans to run in attempts to replace Gov. Kate Brown, D-Ore., who is retiring due to term limits.
State House Speaker Tina Kotek, state Treasurer Tobias Read, and Yamhill County Commissioner Casey Kulla, who sits on the board in Kristof's home county, have declared their intentions to run.
Democrat State Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum also has been rumored to be contemplating a run.
Physician Bud Pierce, the 2016 nominee, is the likely front-runner among Republican candidates who also could include state Sens. Tim Knopp and Kim Thatcher.
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