BOSTON – Massachusetts elections officials have cleared Republican Mitt Romney to run for governor in the upcoming election.
On Tuesday, the Ballot Law Commission unanimously rejected the Democrats' claim that the time Romney spent in Utah overseeing the Olympic Games disqualified him as a resident of Massachusetts.
Romney attorney John Montgomery called the decision a victory for the state constitution and the democratic process.
"This was a case in which the Democratic Party misused the legal process in order to create a media circus," Montgomery said.
Romney lived in the Boston suburb of Belmont from 1971 to 1999, until he temporarily moved to Utah where he served as president of the Olympic Committee. While living in Utah, he maintained his Belmont home and was registered to vote in Massachusetts.
Romney returned to Massachusetts in March after the games ended.
The state Democratic Party had argued that Romney's Utah stay violated the state constitutional requirement that a gubernatorial candidate be a legal resident of Massachusetts for seven years before a run for office.
Party officials said that that they would not appeal the decision of the Ballot Law Commission, which consists of three Republicans, one Democrat and one member with no declared party affiliation.
It is believed to be the first time that a Massachusetts candidate for governor has been challenged on the residency requirement. Romney is the only Republican in the race along with five Democrats.
Despite Tuesday's victory, Romney opponent state Treasurer Shannon O'Brien said Romney now has to face the public's opinion.
"Over the next several months the people of Massachusetts are going to have to determine whether Mitt Romney's failure to tell the truth on a number of occasions will have an impact on their decision to vote for him or not," O'Brien said. "I think he has demonstrated ... that he is willing to be untruthful to suit his political purposes."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.