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Phila. Candidates For Mayor and Council Get Ballot Positions For May 19th Primary

By Mike Dunn

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- Some nail-biting moments this morning for dozens of people running for mayor and City Council in Philadelphia.

Ballot positions for the May 19th primary were determined in a very low-tech way:  the candidates chose numbered balls out of a coffee can.

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(THE SOURCE OF HOPES AND DREAMS. Candidates picked their ballot numbers out of this coffee can. Photo by Mike Dunn)


Derek Green, a City Council candidate on the Democratic side, reached into the Horn & Hardart coffee can and chose the lucky ball:

"Number 1!"

That gave Green, a former aide to councilwoman Marian Tasco, the coveted top ballot position in a field of 21 candidates for City Council's at-large seats.

"I was just lucky today.  I guess because I have a last name that's Green, and St. Patty's Day was yesterday, it worked out well for me," he said afterward.

Not so lucky were the four incumbent at-large councilmembers who are seeking reelection.  They all drew lower numbers, and will appear on the ballot in the midst of challengers.  Wilson Goode, for example, drew the last spot.

Blondell Reynolds Brown ended up with the #8 position.  She doesn't think it matters.

"I've pulled first and won.  I've pulled last and won.  So this is one part of a process.  In no way is it a determining factor at all," she said.

Councilman Bill Greenlee had, in the past two elections, appeared at or near the top of the ballot, but this time he chose #15.

"I was #2, then I was #1 (in the past).  Obviously I'd rather be in those positions, but you know, you move on.   People have won with positions worse than #15.  It's in your hands, but it's out of your hands.  It's whatever you pick," Greenlee mused.

In the mayor's race, the top ballot position went to the perceived frontrunner, state senator Anthony Williams.  His ball was chosen by a worker with the City Commissioner's office because Williams neither appeared nor sent a proxy.

Milton Street won the second spot, Jim Kenney the third position, Doug Oliver is #4, and Nelson Diaz will appear in the fifth spot.  At the bottom of the ballot will be former DA Lynne Abraham, who claimed not to mind.

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(Mayoral candidate Lynn Abraham finds out her ballot position. Photo by Mike Dunn)


"I think it's a good spot on the ballot," she said.  "It's the last name that people are going to see, and they're going to remember it."



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