New Jersey's top election official ruled Tuesday that nine-time Olympic gold medalist Carl Lewis is ineligible to run for state Senate because he failed to meet the four-year state residency requirement for candidates seeking elected office.
Secretary of State Kim Guadagno ordered Lewis' name to be stricken from the June Democratic primary ballot.
"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 at the end of a 15-page opinion.
The decision by Guadagno, a Republican, can be appealed.Guadagno, who is also New Jersey's lieutenant governor under Gov. Chris Christie, noted that Lewis said he filed taxes in California, was registered to vote there and has business offices there. He owns a home in Pacific Palisades, Calif.
Lewis, 49, grew up in New Jersey and has owned homes in the state since 2005. He has been a volunteer track coach at the public high school in his hometown of Willingboro since 2007, and he has a valid New Jersey driver's license.
Guadagno rejected an administrative law judge's recommendation that Lewis be allowed to stay in the race to represent the state's south-central region.
Republicans challenged Lewis' run, saying he hadn't met the residency rule.
The former track star told The Philadelphia Inquirer Gov. Chris Christie tried to talk him out of running.
The Christie administration says Lewis misunderstood the talk.