San Diego Councilwoman Lorie Zapf
San Diego Councilwoman Lorie Zapf held a 23-point lead over runner-up Jen Campbell in the District 2 race. Photo by Chris Stone

Attorney and City Council hopeful Bryan Pease has filed a San Diego Superior Court petition challenging City Councilwoman Lorie Zapf‘s eligibility to run for another District 2 term during the November runoff election.

Zapf won the June primary election with 42.85 percent of the vote. She’s set to face in the upcoming election retired doctor Jennifer Campbell, who finished in second place with 21.36 percent of the primary vote. Pease finished the primary in third place with 19.81 percent of the vote.

In his affidavit, filed on Friday, Pease said prior city code bars Zapf from running for another term. If she is locked out of the November election, Pease would presumably fill in as the next leading candidate after Campbell.

Zapf, originally elected to represent District 6 in 2010, is seeking her third City Council term.

Normally, council members are termed out after two four-year terms in a specific district. However, Zapf’s home in Bay Ho was moved to District 2 in 2011 when boundary lines were redrawn following the census that occurs every 10 years.

Zapf served four years in District 6, was elected to represent District 2 in 2014 and is now seeking another District 2 term.

The City Charter states that upon redistricting, council members continue to “represent the district they were elected to serve,” which seems to indicate Zapf’s initial term still belongs to District 6.

However, Pease argues that Zapf’s eligibility should be based upon the City Charter when redistricting occurred in 2011. Code from that time says incumbents shall “continue to represent the district in which they reside,” upon redistricting. Furthermore, code also states that a partial term in excess of two years in a particular district as a result of redistricting counts as a full term from that district.

“Based on the language that was actually in effect at the time of her redistricting, Councilmember Zapf served more than two years from District 2 prior to being elected to another full term from District 2 and is now termed out,” Pease wrote in his petition.

The Superior Court must hold a hearing on the petition within 30 days, according to Pease.

He filed the petition based on a section of election code that states any candidate from a primary election may contest the right of another candidate to be nominated for the position.

Zapf’s office couldn’t be reached for comment Friday.

Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.