He took his case to a federal appeals court after the state Supreme Court refused to stop county clerks from printing ballots for the June 7 Democratic primary without Lewis' name.
Lewis, a resident of Medford, announced in early April he was running for the state senate from a South Jersey district. But Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno ruled he was ineligible to run in the Democratic primary because he had not been a legal resident of the state for the required four years.
During a hearing by a three-judge federal appeals panel, Judge Thomas Ambro said Lewis appears to be "out of luck" if the court in Philadelphia does not rule in his favor, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported.
Lewis, an Olympic gold medalist, grew up in Willingboro, N.J., where he was a high school track star and lately a volunteer coach. He lived in California for many years and more recently has split his time between that state, Texas and New Jersey.
"To me, it's amazing you can go from New Jersey's favorite son to carpetbagger in three weeks," Lewis said after the federal hearing.