WESTAMPTON, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — Nine-time Olympic gold medalist Carl Lewis says he’s happy the challenge of his bid to run for office in New Jersey appears to be behind him.
Lewis says Wednesday that he’s looking forward to campaigning for the 8th District state Senate seat after an appeals court a day earlier restored his name to the ballot. The Democrat says he entered the race because he believes in public service.
New Jersey’s top elections official, Republican Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno, ruled him ineligible this spring, setting off a fight in federal and state courts.
Republicans claimed Lewis didn’t meet the state’s four-year residency requirement for candidates.
A federal appeals court allowed Lewis’ name to appear on June primary ballots, and he won his party’s nomination with 2,418 votes in an uncontested race. Republican Sen. Dawn Addiego also won her uncontested party primary with 4,350 votes, and the two would face off in the GOP-leaning district in November, if the courts allow.
GOP lawyers say they’ll appeal.
Lewis, who grew up in Willingboro, a middle-class town between Philadelphia and Trenton, went to Texas for college and lived in California after amassing gold medals in three consecutive Olympics beginning in Los Angeles in 1984. He contends he moved back to New Jersey in 2005 when he bought homes for himself and his mother. He has been a volunteer high school track coach since 2007 and has had a valid New Jersey driver’s license since 2006.
However, records show that he voted in California through 2009, which the state contends made him a legal resident of that state.
He has homes in Medford and Mount Laurel in New Jersey, and Pacific Palisades, Calif.
Lewis contends he knows the issues facing the district and that voters know who he is.
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