Despite Term Limits for San Diego City Council, Will District 2 Voters Give Republican Lorie Zapf a Third Term?

by on April 19, 2018 · 2 comments

in Ocean Beach


via Wikipedia

It is possible this year that District 2 voters will give incumbent Republican Lorie Zapf a third term in office, despite the law that limits San Diego City Council members to two terms.

How is that possible?

Well, it just so happens that current law allows sitting council representatives to reset the clock on term limits when their districts shift due to redistricting. And that’s just what happened to Zapf a few years ago, when the boundary for District 2 moved over her house in Clairemont.

So, Zapf is taking advantage of this loophole – a loophole that allows her to run for a third term, despite term limits. It all could change, however, as just last week her colleagues on the City Council moved to close the loophole. The Council’s Rules Committee voted to have the City Attorney draw up a charter amendment closing the loophole, all  for consideration by voters in the November elections. If approved, it would take effect in 2020.

Zapf, in fact, would not be eligible for a third consecutive four-year council term if the proposed change was already in place.

If she wins the election, then there we are.

On her side, as Doug Porter at San Diego Free Press notes, it’s been more than 25 years since an incumbent councilperson has lost an election in San Diego. He adds:

Currently, there are nearly 9000 more Democrats than Republicans registered in the district. Fortunately for the Republicans, the younger residents living in the beach areas don’t usually show up to vote in off-Presidential year elections.

There are 6 candidates vying to unseat Zapf (see accompanying article) and technically, City Council elections are non-partisan, meaning party affiliations don’t get listed on ballots. As Porter adds, the council itself is partisan, with the political parties investing heavily in recent elections. Two incumbent Republicans on the council are already backed with an obscene total of $600,000 in PAC money for the coming election.

This then, is the challenge for the local San Diego GOP; keep Zapf – along with Chris Cate in D6 – in office by not letting their party affiliations (being from the same party as Trump) become an issue. Porter says:

Democrats currently hold a 5-4 majority on the council, which is one seat short of the threshold needed to overcome mayoral vetoes. What this means in practice is that any measure making thru the council is a compromise; bold ideas for change get left in committee for further study. Affirming the status quo is the default mode.

Pundits and political observers are watching the demographic shifts in the region, and it looks like someday the Democrats will have a super- majority on the City Council. The seat most likely to flip is District 2.


{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

rick callejon April 19, 2018 at 11:45 am



mikem488 May 20, 2018 at 3:40 am

Zapf could run for five terms. There will be a redeawing of the district in 2020. She could be put in another district. Then run again in 2022 and 2026.


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