Jim Bates (politician)

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Jim Bates
Jim Bates.jpg
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from California's 44th district
In office
January 3, 1983 – January 3, 1991
Preceded byDistrict created
Succeeded byDuke Cunningham
Personal details
Born (1941-07-21) July 21, 1941 (age 77)
Denver, Colorado
Political partyDemocratic

Jim Bates (born July 21, 1941) is a former Democratic politician from San Diego, California. He served four terms in the United States House of Representatives, 1983–1991, but lost a reelection bid after a scandal over his sexual harassment of women who worked for him.[1]


Bates was born in Denver, Colorado, and graduated from East High School (Denver) in 1959. He joined the United States Marine Corps in 1959, and served in the Corps until 1963. Relocating to San Diego, Bates became a banker and later a businessman in the aerospace industry.

Bates was elected to the San Diego city council in 1971 and served until 1974. He was elected chairman of the San Diego County board of supervisors in 1974, and held the position until 1982. At the time he was the youngest chairman of the Board. While serving (1975) he obtained his bachelor's degree from San Diego State University.[2]

Bates resigned from the board to run for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives, representing California's newly created 44th Congressional District. His district was created after the 1980 census round of redistricting as the most Democratic district in the San Diego area; it included much of the territory represented for 18 years by Lionel Van Deerlin before his defeat by Duncan Hunter. Bates was easily re-elected in 1984, 1986, and 1988.

In 1988 stories surfaced of Bates having groped and touched women who worked from him and others; Dorena Bertussi, a legislative assistant for Bates, testified that "he put my leg in between his and started to do a bump and grind on it, like a dog".[1] The controversy was a main focus during the following year, when he was running for reelection.[3] Bertussi had sued him for sexual harassment, but dropped the case after Bates lost his reelection bid; he was reprimanded by the House with their lightest possible censure, a "letter of reproval",[4] issued the year before.[5] His Republican opponent was Randy "Duke" Cunningham, who hammered Bates about the scandal, promising to be "a congressman we can be proud of." Cunningham won by 50,377 votes to 48,712 votes; his win meant that the San Diego area was represented entirely by Republicans for only the second time since the city was split into two districts after the 1960 census. Bates was later implicated in the House banking scandal.[6] Bates ran in the Democratic primary in June 1992 but lost the nomination to his former aide, Bob Filner, who used the sexual harassment case against him.[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b O'Neill, Lee Ann (July 27, 2013). "Filner's old boss had his own scandal". San Diego Union Tribune. Retrieved December 3, 2017.
  2. ^ "Bates, Jim (1941-)". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Retrieved 14 August 2013.
  3. ^ a b "The Case of Rep. Jim Bates". San Diego Union Tribune. July 26, 2013. Retrieved 14 August 2013.
  4. ^ Williams, Marjorie (October 9, 1991). "From Women, An Outpouring of Anger". The Washington Post. Retrieved December 3, 2017.
  5. ^ "Ethics Panel Reproves Congressman". Chicago Tribune. October 19, 1989. Retrieved December 3, 2017.
  6. ^ Bernstein, Leonard (March 21, 1992). "Bates Used Overdrafts as Campaign Loans : House bank: Former San Diego congressman concedes that $30,300 in bad checks gave him an unfair edge in 1990 primary". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 14 August 2013.

External links[edit]

U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
District created
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from California's 44th congressional district

Succeeded by
Randy "Duke" Cunningham