updated 5/5/2011 3:55:15 PM ET 2011-05-05T19:55:15

Nine-time Olympic gold medalist Carl Lewis can be on the ballot for a New Jersey state Senate primary after all.

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A federal appeals court in Philadelphia ruled Thursday the ballots should be printed with his name.

New Jersey's top election official, a Republican, had said Lewis, a Democratic political novice, wasn't eligible to run because he didn't meet a state residency requirement. Lewis, 49, grew up and lives in New Jersey but went to college in Texas and has a home and a business in California.

Story: NJ official: Carl Lewis can't run for state Senate

Lewis and his lawyers say the initial decision to block him was purely partisan.

Story: Olympian Carl Lewis announces run for NJ Senate

Until Thursday, state and federal courts had agreed that the state could keep him from running. The ruling from the U.S. 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals puts his name on the ballot for the June 7 primary but leaves the bigger issues up to a lower court judge to sort out.

That leaves open the possibility that he could be barred from the general election.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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