Track-and-field Olympic gold-medalist Carl Lewis finally won a court victory in his bid to run for the New Jersey State Senate on Thursday—but still must overcome some legal hurdles.
A three-judge panel of the U.S. Third Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia ruled on Thursday that Lewis’ name should appear on the ballots that will be printed for New Jersey’s State Senate primary, but did not make a final ruling on whether he’s actually eligible to run for office.
Republican Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno, who also does double duty as the New Jersey’s secretary of state, determined last week that Lewis does not meet the state’s four-year residency requirement because he owns a home and business in California—where he voted as recently as 2009—and that he is therefore ineligible to run for office in New Jersey. Lewis, who owns two properties in the Garden State, registered to vote there in April before announcing his candidacy. Lewis’ attorneys have argued that the residency requirement is unconstitutional.
Lewis’ attorney, William Tambussi, said that based on the ruling, “the voters, not a partisan elected official, will decide who should be the state senator in the eighth legislative district.”
It may be too soon to pass the baton to voters, however. A federal district judge and a New Jersey appeals court have upheld Guadagno’s ruling. The state’ Supreme Court is now weighing whether to consider Lewis’ argument that the residency requirement is unconstitutional.
(Photo: Michael Loccisano/Getty Images)