Judge: Carl Lewis still off N.J. ballot

Sept. 8, 2011 at 10:44 AM
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NEWARK, N.J., Sept. 8 (UPI) -- A federal judge upheld the decision to bar former track star Carl Lewis from the New Jersey state Senate ballot, saying he did not meet residency requirements.

U.S. District Judge Noel Hillman commended Lewis for his desire to run for the state Senate but upheld Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno's decision to bar Lewis from the ballot, The (Newark, N.J.) Star-Ledger reported.

"The plaintiff is a man of great and inspiring achievement, justifiably held in high regard, and possessed of promise for the future," Hillman wrote in the decision that was made public Wednesday. But the "residency requirement applies to all, regardless of economic status, race, creed, color, age, gender and political affiliation."

Yet, Lewis, a Democrat, has continued to campaign in the area.

Lewis' attorney, William Tambussi, said he will seek an expedited appeal with 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported.

"Today's decision was not unexpected given the district court's prior ruling," Tambussi said in a statement. "We believe that the decision is inconsistent with the 3rd Circuit decision and will file the appeal later today."

The 3rd Circuit Court previously allowed Lewis to be on the ballot in the spring.

Burlington County Republicans, who challenged Lewis' residency immediately after he announced his campaign in April, praised Hillman's decision.

"We've said from day 1 that Mr. Lewis clearly did not meet the legal residency requirement, and that he wasn't above the law just because his name was Carl Lewis," Chris Russell, a spokesman for the Burlington County GOP said in a statement. "Today's decision vindicates us on both counts."

Lewis, 50, grew up in Willingboro, N.J., but left the state to attend college in Houston and begin his track-and-field career.

Most recently, Lewis paid income taxes and voted in California.

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