Linden Councilman Paul Coates, who went through a protracted legal battle to get sworn in, lost the Democratic primary by a wide margin to challenger Garnett Blaine.
Blaine defeated Coates 305 to 127, a 71%-29% margin and will now be the Democratic candidate in an 8th ward special election in November for the remainder of Michele Yamakaitis’ term.
Yamakaitis left her seat on January 1 to become the new council president.
Blaine was one of four allies of Mayor Derek Armstead to win contested primaries for city council.
Monique Caldwell defeated Jorge Alvarez by 110 votes in the 3rd ward, and incumbent Ralph Stano beat Terrence Brown in the 7th ward by 115 votes.
The 2nd ward race between incumbent Barry Javick and Donald Beyer is too close to call. Javick, who ran on the Armstead slate, leads 211 to 205.
Councilwoman Rashonna Cosby, an ally of State Sen. Nicholas Scutari, won by 29 votes.
Coates, a 44-year-old barber and bail bondsman, had to wait until three weeks ago to take office after Superior Court Judge Katherine Dupuis kept the issue in court for four months.
The local Democratic organization submitted the names of Coates, Cynthia Apalinski and Aaron Howard as replacements for Yamakaitis, but the city council declined to pick one of them. State law sends the pick back to the county committee to fill the vacancy.
Coates, a longtime county committeeman, won 20-0.
He was sworn in by Scutari, who is also the Linden Democratic municipal chairman and the Union County Democratic chairman.
Armstead, a Scutari rival, has said that he wanted the seat to remain vacant until a November special election to fill the final 26 months of Yamakaitis’ term – a move that appears to violate New Jersey statutes.