PORTLAND, Maine — The city councilor who tried and failed to seek higher office plans to run to keep his current seat — contesting the candidate vying to be Portland’s first African immigrant and Muslim on the council.

Jon Hinck will run against Pious Ali for the at-large council seat that he had considered giving up when he tried to enter the three-way Democratic primary for Justin Alfond’s soon-to-be former state Senate seat.

Hinck missed the deadline to submit signatures in March, telling the BDN at the time: “Fact is, I failed to get our petitions with 137 signatures, verified two weeks ago, in to the Secretary of State. Ouch.”

Still, Hinck insists that the council seat isn’t a second-choice job.

“I was looking at an opportunity to do it at the state level that came apart,” said Hinck. “But I still have the opportunity to do what I can here in the city and I run enthusiastically.”

Ali has already been running for the past month and a half. The school board member, who does youth outreach at the University of Southern Maine, announced in early February that we would be running for the at-large City Council seat shortly after Hinck took out nomination papers — and said he has been knocking on doors around Portland for the last month and a half.

Hinck dismissed the idea that Ali is advantaged by his earlier announcement.

“When I started that campaign for the Senate, I knocked on approximately 1,000 doors … all of them, of course, doors in the city of Portland,” said Hinck.