The former track star says controversy has only enhanced his campaign.
The disciplined determination required to become a nine-time Olympic gold winner has apparently paid off for Carl Lewis in his effort to run for the New Jersey state Senate. Thanks to the order of a federal appeals court earlier this week, he will appear on the November general election ballot following several court battles. Burlington County Republicans will not likely let the matter die, phillyburbs.com reports, but Lewis is not bothered.
“We’re on the ballot and we’re moving forward,” Lewis said at a Wednesday news conference. “The people of the eighth district will now have a choice.”
The ruling overturned previous decisions by New Jersey’s Secretary of State and Lieutenant Governor Kim Guadagno, state courts and a lower federal court that ruled that Lewis did not meet the four-year residency requirement necessary to run for public office. Although he bought a home in New Jersey in 2005 and alleged that he considered New Jersey his home state, he last voted in California in 2009, bolstering Guadagno’s argument that he didn’t meet the residency requirement. Lewis was, however, allowed to appear on the Democratic primary ballot this past summer, which he won. And, he now says, the controversy has had a positive impact on his campaign.
“I think it enhanced it. This campaign for me was about people. A lot of people knew about the campaign because of this,” he said.
Still, phillyburbs.com reports, Lewis’ chances of victory in November are probably very slim given he is running in a Republican leaning district. Patrick Murray, who directs the Monmouth University Polling Institute, told the publication that Lewis has done little to convince voters that he would do a better job than incumbent state Sen. Dawn Marie Addiego.
“He never really had a chance to beat Addiego,” Murray said. “The towns in the district typically vote with a 15–25 percent margin to the GOP.”
(Photo: Ron Tarver/Philadelphia Inquirer/MCT/Landov)