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Carl Lewis blocked from New Jersey election race

New Jersey's top election official has ruled that nine-times Olympic gold medallist Carl Lewis is ineligible to run for the state senate because he fails to meet the four-year residency requirement for candidates.

Secretary of State Kim Guadagno ordered Mr Lewis's name to be removed from the June Democratic primary ballot. "The 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," Ms Guadagno said in a 15-page opinion.

Ms Guadagno, who is also New Jersey's Lieutenant-Governor under Governor Chris Christie, noted that Mr Lewis said he filed taxes in California, was registered to vote there until recently and had a home and business offices there.

Mr Lewis, who intends to challenge the ruling, told The Philadelphia Inquirer: "First the Governor called and tried to talk me out of my race, now he's trying to use his power to do it. I didn't realise I was going to be running against the Governor in my 8th District race."

Mr Lewis said it seemed as if the Governor had pressured his Lieutenant-Governor to rule against him.

"I've been in competition for a long time so nothing surprises me," he said. "What's sad, though, is who's talking about the people of the 8th District? The kids whose schools are struggling?"