Carl Lewis can't run.
The nine-time Olympic gold medalist was kicked off the New Jersey state Senate ballot by a federal appeals court ruling on Thursday, the Associated Press reports.
Nine days ago, the same three-judge panel said Lewis should be on the ballot, but in an unusual move it later reversed course and called for more time to make a decision after having second thoughts, Politico reports. Upon further review, the panel ruled that Lewis does not meet the state's four-year residency requirement for state Senate candidates.
Lewis, who grew up in Willingboro, N.J., voted and paid taxes in California until 2009. Although he purchased houses in New Jersey in 2005 and 2007 – and volunteered as a track coach in his hometown – his residency status became an issue for his candidacy this past spring when the Republican Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno took his name off the Democratic primary ballot.
A previous appellate decision restored Lewis’s name to the ballot, and he went on to win the Democratic nomination. But once Lewis was in the general election race against Republican incumbent Dawn Addiego, Guadagno again brought Lewis's eligibility into question.
Although it looks like Lewis will not be on this year's ballot for New Jersey's Republican-leaning 8th legislative district, the whole saga is not without continuing controversy. Lewis's attorney, Bill Tambussi, released a statement decrying the "extreme measures taken by the Republican Party to keep Carl Lewis off the ballot."
Ballots must go out to absentee voters in the next few days, so unless Lewis or the state Democrats make a quick move, the reversal may leave Addiego running alone.