Trivia Question: Bruce Henderson is Half the Answer

Barry Jantz Barry Jantz 1 Comment


Our little Friday impromptu trivia contest resulted in a few decent guesses.  The question:

Who was the last City of San Diego councilmember (not mayor) that was voted out of office during a regular primary or general re-election campaign after serving only one four-year (elected) term of office? First to answer wins.

The guesses received as of last night: Linda Bernardt, Scott Harvey, John Hartley and Bruce Henderson.  Good picks!

However, the post itself hinted that Bernhardt was not the answer, as she was not knocked off while running for a second term.  After originally winning the District 5 council seat in 1989, she never got to run for a second four years, getting tossed in a 1991 recall election (Tom Behr won the seat).

Scott Harvey also is not the answer, as he never ran and never lost.  He was appointed to a vacancy in early 1995 when Ron Roberts moved to the Board of Supervisors.  Harvey was a “placeholder,” not seeking election in his own right.  Byron Wear took the District 2 seat later in 1995.

No as well on John Hartley. Although he did serve only one term in District 3, he chose not to run for reelection in 1993.

Shortly after posting the question here Friday as well as on Twitter and Facebook, Scott Barnett answered via a tweet, “Bruce Henderson.”

Several minutes later, Ernie Barrera — not having seen Barnett’s tweeted answer — posted the same answer to Facebook.

Then yesterday morning, Duane Dichiara — not being tipped off by either Twitter or Facebook — posted his guess of Henderson here on Rostra.

My Lesson:  Make sure the rules indicate folks have to answer on the blog (note to self: next time).  However, all three — Barnett, Barrera and Dichiara — were “kinda” right, with Scott Barnett being the first one to answer, so the “kinda” winner.

Kudos to you three for being right, halfway at any rate.

Indeed, Bruce Henderson, after winning the District 6 council seat in 1987, lost in his 1991 reelection bid to Valerie Stallings.

YET, another poor soul also lost in 1991.  Wes Pratt, after initially nabbing the District 4 seat in 1987 over George Stevens, ending up losing in a rematch to Stevens in 1991.

So, the last two SD City Councilmembers losing reelection after serving only one term were Henderson and Pratt.

Bernhardt also lost the same year, but never served an entire term of office, holding the dubious distinction of being the last councilmember in the big city to be recalled.

I was about to put this in the can, then this morning received an email from Jim Sills saying, “Three San Diego city council members lost in 1991.  Linda Bernhardt was unseated just 17 months into her term, losing a recall election by a 72% landslide.  Wes Pratt and Bruce Henderson also lost in 1991 after four years on the job.”

Nice job sliding in under the wire, Jim!

So, Jim Sills clearly wins this little contest.  Congratulations and thanks to all for playing!

ADDED NOTE 8:20 am… Okay, TECHNICALLY, Pratt lost in the September primary in 1991, and Henderson lost in the November general that year, so I’ll bite on the fact that Henderson was the LAST one.  So, Scott Barnett did get it first.  But, since you all answered in differing venues (I’ll make that clear next time), I’m gonna give this to all of you (this time):  Scott Barnett, Ernie Barrera, Duane Dichiara, and Jim Sills.

Have a thought on another political trivia question?…let me know.  Until next time!

(No, I did not come up with all of this amazing history from my vast poli-hackish memory, or by digging through my files, or by simply asking Mr. Sills.  Want a hint on how? Email me at


Comments 1

  1. Barry – excellent display of leadership in a contest about to get ugly! If you’d been in charge of things in 2000, Florida would never have happened … and President Gore would have served his two terms with distinction.
    And I want it noted that I gave the complete answer … Henderson first; Pratt second. I’ll expect my subscription to National Review any day soon.

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