PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Nicholas Kristof is officially leaving the New York Times as he mulls a possible run for Oregon’s governor.

The announcement of Kristof’s NTY departure comes days after he filed paperwork to form a political action committee. That paperwork enables the Oregon native to raise money and hire staff for a potential gubernatorial run — a step that signifies serious interest in the position.

Kristof has reportedly been exploring the possibility of running for several months. He has been on leave with the NYT since June, when The Times says he first told his editors he was weighing a run.

According to Oregon Public Broadcasting, political consultant Carol Butler has been working with Kristof as a volunteer as he considers a race. OPB says she somewhat downplayed the significance of the paperwork filing, saying it would allow him to continue exploring the idea.

He told KOIN 6 News in July he was thinking about running for governor.

“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 at that time.

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

So far, at least 3 major candidates have announced they’re running for governor to replace Kate Brown: Speaker of the House Tina Kotek and State Treasurer Tobias Read as Democrats and Sandy Mayor Stan Pulliam, who is running as a Republican.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.