The ruling came Tuesday in response to a legal challenge by unsuccessful primary candidate Bryan Pease, who finished third in the June primary.
At issue was whether Zapf is eligible for a second term representing District 2, even though it would be her third term representing any district on the council. The city charter limits officer holders to two consecutive terms representing a single district.
Zapf was first elected in 2010 in what was then District 6. In 2011, her home in Bay Ho was redistricted into District 2, but she continued to serve out her term representing District 6. Then in 2014 she was elected to represent District 2, and is running for election to a second term this year.
The judges ruled that “the term limit provision in San Diego’s city charter plainly and unambiguously caps the number of terms an incumbent may serve on behalf of the district from which he or she has drawn her authority to serve on the city council, not the number of terms that an incumbent may serve while physically residing within the geographic boundaries of any one district.”
John Hoy, Zapf’s campaign consultant, welcomed the decision. “We’re grateful to the justices for their unanimous ruling and for their re-affirmation that Pease’s election challenge is without merit,” he said.
Zapf, a Republican, received 43 percent of the primary vote. She will face retired doctor Jennifer Campbell, a Democrat, in November.