The vote came after numerous speakers sought to persuade councilmembers to vote for Cole or Alvarez, who are both Democrats.
The four Republicans on the Council voted for Cole along with First District Councilmember Barbara Bry and Cole herself. The motion was brought by Mark Kersey, who represents the Fifth District and was seconded by Bry, who noted it was her first vote after being sworn in earlier Monday.
Voting against Cole were Alvarez, Third District Councilmember Christopher Ward, and Ninth District Councilmember Georgette Gomez.
Labor groups on both sides came out to support both Cole and Alvarez. The Democrats have 5-4 majority on the Council as the Democrats who were termed out were replaced by Democrats.
Alvarez thanked all the people who came to support him. He said he has been transparent in seeking the position of Council President in his final two years on the Council. Alvarez also said he greatly respects Cole, who also thanked her supporters.
Alvarez lost the 2014 special mayoral election against Kevin Faulconer following the resignation of Bob Filner in 2013.