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From AP, via The Press of Atlantic City:

Nine-time Olympic gold medalist Carl Lewis says Republican New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie dropped a plan to appoint him the state's first physical fitness ambassador when he launched a political campaign against a Christie friend.

Lewis said Monday the governor called to dissuade him from running as a Democrat for state Senate in 2011 against Republican Sen. Dawn Addiego


Lewis says he was told the fitness program they'd been developing wouldn't materialize if he ran. Lewis says the governor felt the post "was a carrot he could pull away."

According to the article, Lewis later withdrew from the race when it was determined he did not meet certain residency requirements.

No comment yet on this from the Christie Administration.

Sheesh. It will soon be easier to report on those the Governor of New Jersey did NOT bully.

Update 1:

From the comments, jeremybloom found original reporting on this story in The Star Ledger, and the details are even uglier:

Despite the pressure from Christie, Lewis declared his candidacy for state Senate shortly after their conversation. But before his campaign began in earnest, it was mired in legal challenges. Republicans sued, claiming he hadn’t lived in New Jersey for the requisite four years, based partly on him casting a vote in California in 2009. And even though an administrative law judge first sided with Lewis, Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno overturned the decision and kicked him off the ballot. After a tangled five-month losing battle in state and federal courts, Lewis dropped out, leaving Addiego to seek re-election unopposed...

“He called me and asked me to get out of the race. I said I would stay in the race. Then he killed the program and used his secretary of state and attorney general’s office to get me out of the race,” Lewis said. “It’s a pretty clear parallel.”

Gov. Chris Christie’s administration spent $78,000 worth of attorney’s staff time in the effort to remove Lewis from the ballot, records showed.

Update 2:

Our HoundDog beat me to this story by almost an hour, but I missed his/her excellent diary. Here it is:

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