Carl Lewis kicked off primary ballot due to residency requirement

Chris Chase
April 26, 2011

One of the characters in the most famous disqualification in Olympic history is dealing with a DQ saga of his own. Twenty-three years after he won a gold medal following Ben Johnson's positive steroid test, Carl Lewis has been barred from a potential bid for a New Jersey state Senate seat.

The nine-time gold medalist, who recently announced his intention to run for the state's 8th Legislative District seat as a Democrat, was booted from the primary ballot by Republican Secretary of State Kim Gaudagno after she determined Lewis failed to meet residency requirements.


"As of the four year constitutional cut-off, (Lewis) did not yet own his home in New Jersey, did not otherwise live in New Jersey, did not file his taxes in New Jersey, was not registered to vote in New Jersey and did not have his business in New Jersey," Guadagno [...] wrote in her 15-page decision. [...]

Guadagno's decision reverses the ruling of an administrative law judge who had recommended Lewis be permitted to remain on the ballot.

Democrats are expected to appeal.

They say Lewis purchased a home for his mother in New Jersey in 2005 and bought another one for himself in 2007. Though he signed the contract that August, Guadagno determined Lewis didn't move in until after the Nov. 8 deadline. She also cited Lewis' recent voting record in California as a reason in her decision. Lewis last voted in California in 2009.

As if this didn't sound enough like a failed 1980s sitcom, Lewis later claimed that New Jersey Governor Chris Christie tried to force him out of the race. (Can we call that a Mary Decker Slaneying?)

"[Christie] couldn't bully Carl Lewis out of the race and the Republican party couldn't make a case stand up in court, so the lieutenant governor did their bidding for them. I fully expect the lieutenant governor's decision to be appealed, and I fully expect Carl Lewis to win and be our candidate in the 8th Legislative District," Senate President Stephen Sweeney, a supporter of Lewis, told

The Christie administration denied the claim.

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