One of America’s greatest Olympians accused New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) of strong-arming him out of running for elected office.
Nine-time Olympic gold medalist Carl Lewis said Monday he received a threatening phone call from Christie in 2011 after the governor found out that the former track star was planning a run for state senate.
“I’m going to come after you,” Lewis recalled Christie telling him, according to Yahoo Sports.
“I felt like he was trying to intimidate me, absolutely. But I definitely didn’t feel intimidated,” he told The Star-Ledger.
Christie’s office denied that it tried to prevent Lewis from running. Christie’s Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno (R), who also serves as New Jersey’s secretary of state, ultimately took Lewis off the ballot because he did not meet the state’s four-year residency requirement.
But Lewis said he believes Christie was protecting his friend, state Sen. Dawn Marie Addiego (R), who won the race unopposed.
According to Lewis, he and Christie had previously discussed consolidating New Jersey’s physical education programs, but the plans were scrapped after he entered the state senate race.
“The governor put his people together to get me out of the race,” Lewis said, as quoted by the AP.