Decision delayed on Carl Lewis' bid for NJ Senate

Updated: April 21, 2011, 8:52 PM ET
Associated Press

TRENTON, N.J. -- New Jersey's top election official will take a few more days before deciding whether nine-time Olympic gold medalist Carl Lewis can pursue his bid for state Senate.

Republican Secretary of State Kim Guadagno had been expected to decide Thursday whether the Democratic former track star meets the state's four-year residency requirement for candidates. But a spokesman for Guadagno said late Thursday that the decision had been delayed until "as soon as possible next week upon the receipt of all necessary records."

An administrative law judge recommended that Lewis be allowed to run in the June primary.

The judge, John Schuster III, found Wednesday that Republicans who challenged Lewis' bid to represent the 8th Legislative District in south-central New Jersey failed to prove that he lives elsewhere. However, the judge cautioned that he had not found that Lewis, among the greatest athletes of all time, had attained residency status.

Republican Gov. Chris Christie called the judge's finding "odd" and said on Millennium Radio's "Ask the Governor" program Thursday night that he hadn't spoken to Guadagno, who's also his lieutenant governor, about her pending decision.

"I assume if there's some reason she hasn't made that decision, she must be thinking about it," he said.

The judge, who heard the case the day before issuing his nonbinding decision, said the tight deadline prohibited a full court record from being developed.

That could be significant for Guadagno as she weighs Lewis' political future and decides whether to accept, modify or reject the initial decision. Her ruling can be appealed to the appellate division.

If allowed to run, Lewis likely would face Republican Dawn Adeggio in November.

Lewis, who owns a home in Pacific Palisades, Calif., testified for about two hours on Tuesday, saying he intended to stay in New Jersey. His lawyers produced real estate settlement statements from homes he bought in New Jersey in 2005 and 2007, utility bills in his name at those addresses and a valid New Jersey driver's license, which he testified he's had since 2006.

Lawyers for the Republicans documented that Lewis voted in California until recently and owns a business in Los Angeles. They also produced a Texas vehicle registration for a truck he owns.

Lewis, 49, grew up in Willingboro. He attended college in Texas and later bought and sold at least three homes in California. He testified that he now lives in Medford. He has been a volunteer track coach in Willingboro since 2007.

In the 1980s and `90s, Lewis was noted for his blistering pace and dominance of the long jump and 100-meter dash.

He won Olympic golds in the 100 and 200 meters, long jump and 400-meter relay in Los Angeles in 1984. At the 1988 Olympics in Seoul, he triumphed in the 100 meters and long jump. In the 1992 Games in Barcelona, he took the long jump and anchored the U.S. 400 relay team, which won in world record time. He won his fourth straight Olympic gold in the long jump in 1996 in Atlanta.

He's a member of the USA Track & Field Hall of Fame and was inducted into the New Jersey Hall of Fame last May.

Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press

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