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Appeals court allows Carl Lewis to stay on state ballot for now

By the CNN Wire Staff
  • The injunction keeps alive the former Olympic star's political ambition
  • New Jersey's election head had ruled Lewis failed to meet residency requirements
  • The appeals court says a federal court or state Supreme Court should decide the issue

(CNN) -- A federal appeals court issued an injunction Thursday to allow the name of former Olympic star Carl Lewis to remain on the ballot for the June 7 Democratic primary for a New Jersey state Senate seat.

The injunction requested by Lewis prevents ballots from being printed without his name, at least for now.

However, the appellate court said the main issue of the case -- whether Lewis meets residency requirements to run in the election -- should be decided by a federal district court or the New Jersey Supreme Court.

Last week, New Jersey Lt. Gov. and Secretary of State Kim Guadagno ruled that Lewis was ineligible for the race because he failed to meet state residency requirements.

Lewis, a nine-time Olympic gold medal winner, wants to run for the state Senate seat in the 8th Legislative District.

New Jersey Democrats had sought Lewis, a resident of Medford, New Jersey, to put his name on the Democratic ballot against Republican state Sen. Dawn Addiego in Republican-leaning Burlington County.

Both New Jersey's state houses are currently controlled by Democrats.

Guadagno, a Republican, ruled that Lewis, who grew up in New Jersey before going to college out of state, failed to meet a four-year residency requirement.

The campaign for the June 7 Democratic primary would be the 49-year-old track legend's first time vying for a political seat.

The running star and long-jumper won four gold medals at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, two in 1988 in Seoul, two more at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics, and one gold for the long jump at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta.

Lewis is the third athlete leaping into the political sphere in Burlington County in recent years. Former Philadelphia Eagle lineman Jon Runyan was elected to Congress last year and former NHL player Brian Propp ran an unsuccessful campaign for a 7th District Assembly seat in 2007.