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Nicholas Kristof Is Leaving the New York Times to Pursue a Political Career.

Mr. Kristof, a two-time Pulitzer Prize winner, is considering running for governor of his home state of Oregon.

Nicholas Kristof is quitting The New York Times after 37 years as a reporter, senior editor, and opinion writer, a top Times editor announced Thursday. Kristof is considering running for governor of Oregon.

Mr. Kristof, 62, has been on leave from The Times since June, when he informed business officials that he was considering running for governor in his home state of New York. On Tuesday, he submitted a petition with Oregon's secretary of state to create a campaign committee as a Democrat, demonstrating his seriousness.

In 2019, Nicholas Kristof
In 2019, Nicholas Kristof

Kathleen Kingsbury, The Times's opinion editor, wrote in an email to staff announcing Mr. Kristof's departure that he redefined the role of the opinion columnist and credited him with "elevating the journalistic form to a new level of public service through a combination of incisive reporting, profound empathy, and a determination to bear witness to those struggling and suffering around the world."

Mr. Kristof, a two-time Pulitzer Prize winner, began The Times as a reporter in 1984 and ultimately rose to the position of associate managing editor, overseeing Sunday editions. In 2001, he began writing his column.

"This has been my ideal work, despite malaria, a plane accident in Congo, and frequent arrests overseas for journalism," Mr. Kristof stated in a statement accompanied with his resignation letter. "Yet here I am, regretfully resigning."

Mr. Kristof, who grew up on a sheep and cherry farm in Yamhill, Ore., said in July that friends were recruiting him to succeed Democratic Gov. Kate Brown, who has served as Oregon's governor since 2015 and is legally barred from running again.

"Nick is one of the greatest journalists of his generation," The Times publisher A.G. Sulzberger said in a statement. "As a reporter and columnist, he has long exemplified the profession's best values. He is as brave as he is empathetic. He is as receptive to new ideas as he is principled. He did more than bear testimony; he drew attention to issues and individuals that others were all too content to ignore."

Ms. Kingsbury emphasized in her announcement that Mr. Kristof had taken a leave of absence from his column in accordance with Times norms, which prohibit participation in many facets of public life. "Journalists have no business on the political playing fields," the manual declares.

Mr. Kristof, a former Beijing bureau director, received his first Pulitzer Prize for international reporting in 1990, a prize he shared with his wife, former reporter Sheryl WuDunn, for their coverage of the Tiananmen Square protests and the Chinese military crackdown. The second, in 2006, acknowledged his columns on Sudan's Darfur crisis, which has been classed as genocide by the International Criminal Court.

Mr. Kristof and Ms. WuDunn have collaborated on several publications. The most recent, "Tightrope," was published last year and chronicles the lives of residents in Yamhill, a once-thriving blue-collar town that declined as employment fled and poverty, drug addiction, and suicides increased.

"While visiting 160 countries, I met presidents and tyrants, Nobel laureates and warlords," Mr. Kristof said in a statement on Thursday. "And exactly because I have an amazing job, exceptional editors, and the best readers, I may be an idiot to leave. However, you are all aware of how much I like Oregon and how deeply affected I have been by the suffering of old friends there. As a result, I've reluctantly realized that I should attempt not merely to highlight problems, but also to immediately resolve them."