Olympic gold medalist Carl Lewis is headed back to court on Friday to once again challenge a Monday ruling by New Jersey Secretary of State Kimberly Guadagno that he is ineligible to run for a seat in the state’s Senate because he doesn’t meet a four-year residency requirement.
Lewis accused both Guadagno and Gov. Chris Christie of intentionally trying to stop his bid, but Christie said at a bill signing this week that he’s not bothered either way and the final decision will be made in court. Guadagno says she is simply fulfilling her statutory duty.
"It is clear you directed her to get me off the ballot. Tell the truth, governor," Lewis responded on Twitter.
A decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals in Philadelphia enabled him to compete in the June 7 Democratic primary, which he won, but Guadagno, who also serves as New Jersey’s lieutenant governor, has ruled that he cannot appear on the general election ballot, Bloomberg News reports. Monday was the deadline to certify candidates’ names before the ballots are printed next month.
“I am statutorily required to make and certify a statement of all candidates for whom voters ‘may be by law entitled to vote’ in November,” Guadagno said in a letter. “In view of my statutory obligations, I cannot certify the name of Frederick Carlton ‘Carl’ Lewis.”
Since announcing his intention to run against incumbent Republican Sen. Dawn Marie Addiego earlier this year, Lewis has argued that the residency requirement is unconstitutional. Although he has maintained homes in New Jersey, he last voted in California in 2009, which Guadagno contends made him a legal of that state during the four-year period at the center of the dispute.
Lewis’ attorney, William Tambussi, called Guadagno’s latest decision an “eleventh-hour, unilateral political tactic” and “an utter disregard of the facts.”
(Photo: Chris McGrath/GettyImages)