Carl Lewis’ election candidacy blocked

2011-08-17 09:15

Trenton, New Jersey – New Jersey’s top elections official will not certify Carl Lewis as a candidate for state Senate in the November election, the latest move in a monthslong political contest over whether the nine-time Olympic gold medalist is eligible to run for office in his native state.

Republican Kim Guadagno, who also serves as secretary of state, wrote in a certification order sent on Monday to county clerks that Lewis does not meet the requirement that candidates for state Senate live in New Jersey for four years before running.

The 50-year-old Lewis, a Democrat, contends he moved back to New Jersey when he bought homes there for himself and his mother in 2005.

However, the state says he voted in California as recently as 2009, making him a legal resident of that state.

“To date, and absent a court decision to the contrary, Mr Lewis has not met the four-year residency requirement,” Guadagno wrote.

“In view of my statutory obligations, I cannot certify the name of Frederick Carlton ‘Carl’ Lewis.”

Federal District Court Judge Noel Hillman scheduled a hearing of the case for Friday afternoon.

Lewis believes Republican Governor Chris Christie is orchestrating the fight to keep him from competing and says the decision not to certify his name on the ballot is further evidence the Republicans are nervous about his candidacy.

“(Guadagno) has chosen again to step out of bounds and ignore the law and ignore the facts of the case,” Lewis said.

Lewis grew up in Willingboro, a middle-class town between Philadelphia and Trenton.

He went to Texas for college and in 1984 he won four gold medals at the Los Angeles Olympics.

Over the next 12 years, he would collect five more golds at the Olympics.

He has been based largely in California, where he owns a business and where he has voted – at least until he registered to vote in New Jersey just before declaring his candidacy this year.

He has homes in Medford and Mount Laurel, New Jersey, and Pacific Palisades, California.

He has had a valid New Jersey driver’s licence since 2006.

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