Olympian Carl Lewis barred from US state poll race

April 28th, 2011 - 11:14 am ICT by IANS  

New York, April 28 (IANs/EFE) New Jersey election authorities have decided that retired track and field star Carl Lewis, winner of nine Olympic gold medals, does not meet the residency requirement to run for the state Senate in this year’s elections.

New Jersey Secretary of State Kim Guadagno announced Tuesday that Lewis’s name must be removed from the ballots for the Democratic primary, in which the party’s candidates for the Senate race will be determined.

“I find that respondent was not a resident of New Jersey for the constitutionally required four years prior to the date of the election for the office he now seeks,” Guadagno said in a 15-page opinion.

According to election laws, to participate in political races as a candidate in New Jersey one must have resided in the state for a minimum of four years prior to the election in which one wants to compete.

Representatives of the Democratic Party feel that the former athlete certainly meets that requirement, given that they say he bought his first home in New Jersey in 2005.

Republicans, however, assert that Lewis cannot run because up until 2009 he was registered to vote in California, among other things.

Both Guadagno and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie are Republicans.

Lewis announced April 11 that he intended to compete for the state Senate seat in District 8, an area dominated by Republicans.

The athlete was born July 1, 1961, in Birmingham, Alabama, but was raised in the Garden State.

Lewis won gold medals in the 1984, 1988, 1992 and 1996 Summer Olympic Games. After years spent living in Texas and California, he returned to New Jersey in 2005.

The elections for the state Senate and General Assembly in New Jersey, both currently controlled by Democrats, will be held next November.

–IANS/EFE
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