Carl Lewis Residency Challenge Gets Olympian Barred From Ballot

Apr 26, 2011, 16:09 by John Steele

Former Olympic sprinter Carl Lewis announced last week that he will seek a vacated state Senate seat in his hometown of New Jersey. But a GOP challenge questioning Lewis' state residency was upheld today, barring Lewis from running in November.

Challengers alleged last week that Lewis, a nine-time Olympic gold medalist does not meet minimum residency requirements, despite owning two homes in the state. Lewis has voted in California for several years, challengers say, so he is a California resident.

Secretary of State Kim Guadagno rejected the 49-year-old's bid to run for state Senate as a Democrat. According to the BBC, Ms Guadagno, a Republican who also serves as the state's lieutenant governor, overturned an earlier decision by an administrative law judge that said Mr Lewis should be allowed to run because Republicans had not proved Mr Lewis failed to meet the requirements.

"[Mr Lewis] did not yet own his home in New Jersey, did not otherwise live in New Jersey, did not file his taxes in New Jersey, was not registered to vote in New Jersey and did not have his business in New Jersey," Ms Guadagno said in her decision.

Lewis switched his voter registration to New Jersey the same day he filed candidacy paperwork.

The former athlete, who had planned to run in the 8th legislative district now represented by Republican Dawn Addiego, will now have the opportunity to appeal Ms Guadagno's decision.

According to the Associated Press, Lewis grew up in Willingboro, N.J., and is a volunteer track coach at the public high school. Although a political novice, Lewis has said publicly that he wanted to give something back to the southern New Jersey district where he grew up by running for the state Senate as a Democrat.