State Sen. Anthony Hardy Williams' name will be listed first on the ballot in the mayoral primary May 19. He'll be followed by T. Milton Street, James Kenney, Doug Oliver, Nelson Diaz and Lynne Abraham – assuming everyone stays in the race.
Candidates for mayor, city commissioner, city council and sheriff all drew ballot positions this morning. One by one they came up to a podium to pull a little blue or red ball out of a tin coffee can in an ornate sixth floor courtroom.
Today's lottery will likely have the biggest impact in the Democratic Council at-large race in which 21 Democrats are vying for five seats.
The four incumbents in that race were not very lucky.
Councilman William Greenlee picked 15th, Ed Neilson, who let his son pick for him, drew No. 18 and Wilson Goode picked the last spot, No. 21, though he had the last spot in the 2011 primary and still won.
Sometimes the number isn't as important as where a candidate's name physically winds up on the ballot. In the 2011 primary, for example, there were five names per row so Goode was No. 4 on the third Democratic row.
Similarly to Wednesday's draw, some challengers in 2011 received good ballot position but lost. Charter school dean, Isaiah Thomas was No. 2 in 2011 but lost. This year his two-year-old son picked him the second-to-last spot, number 20.
"We're fine, there's no such thing as bad ballot position – only good ballot position," Thomas said in the hallway after the draw. "I let my son do it, my wife's going to be mad at him. He told me he was going get a two, he got the two, just the wrong one."
Derek Green, former legislative aide to Councilwoman Marian Tasco, pulled the first ballot spot, followed by Jenne Ayers, the youngest candidate and daughter of the former fire commissioner, who got No. 2.
"I guess I was just lucky today," Green said. "I have a last name that's Green and St. Paddy's day was yesterday, it worked out for me. Being in the number one positions that's the first name people will see … it's very important. It helps me get my name out."
Wilson Alexander, a community activist and 2007 candidate, Alan Domb, a real estate developer, and attorney Tom Wyatt, rounded out the top five.
Many candidates said a prayer before coming to City Hall today. Wyatt said he opted not to shave – a superstition from his baseball playing days. "Now the question is, do I keep it up?" he asked.
Blondell Reynolds Brown did the best of the sitting council members with Number 8. She also dismissed the impact ballot position has.
"I've pulled first and won, I've pulled last and won, I've pulled in the middle and won so I think it's really based on your record and what voters know about you," Brown said.
Republican incumbents fared a little better. Councilman David Oh has position No. 1 and Dennis O'Brien, No. 5. in a field of seven.
In the City Commissioners' race Anthony Clark, the controversial incumbent who reportedly has not voted in any election since 2011, received the top ballot draw.
Dennis Lee, who used to work for Commissioner Stephanie Singer, and is now running for his boss' seat, grabbed the No. 2 spot. Singer received the last spot at No.9.
A winning strategy isn't just a top ballot position but name recognition and support from Ward leaders. This is when the primary campaign really kicks into gear—getting on the powerful wards' sample ballots. That usually requires a lot of money – and not so much luck.
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