Candidate Aaron Foldenauer Moves to the Top in Mayor’s Race

Aaron Foldenhauer, left, on the campaign trail for mayor. Photo from his campaign website.

After millions of dollars spent and dozens of stories written about mayoral candidates with names like Stringer, Adams, Yang and Wiley, the first name that voters will see on the ballot come Primary Day will be Aaron Foldenauer.

The relatively obscure candidate with around $5,000 in his campaign war chest got the coveted first line on the Democratic mayoral ballot through a Board of Election lottery conducted today.

“The only fair way to do it is to have this random draw,” said Foldenauer about the process for how the order in which the candidates’ names are listed on ballot. “Which of course, I won today.”

In special elections, the first spot on the ballot is given to the candidate who files their petition first but in the primaries, it goes to whoever is the luckiest in the random drawing. 

And boy is it lucky to be first. The first spot on the ballot is considered the most desirable spot because it is the most prominent. The thought is that an uneducated or undecided voter will go in and choose the first candidate listed. 

“They’re going to gravitate to my name,” said Foldenauer. “You’d be surprised how many people go vote, and they don’t know who they’re gonna vote for and they’re gonna see my name on top.”

The lottery conducted on a livestream had two two election workers sitting alone in a room on opposite sides of a long wooden table separated only by a clear plastic partition. One read a name off a list while the other spun the cage full of balls next to him until one dropped out of the cages opening, a microphone positioned artfully to capture the rumbling noise that emanated from their crashes. He read the number off the ball and so it continued. 

Frontrunners New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer and Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams placed somewhere in the middle of the pack while former presidential candidate Andrew Yang took the caboose.

Stringer’s campaign declined to comment on the ballot order and Yang’s campaign did not respond to requests for comment. 

Adams, however, seemed to be unfazed by his lackluster spot on the ballot. Instead, his campaign said that he was just excited to be on the ballot –– ninth place spot or not. 

“For him to see his name on the ballot for mayor as the hometown guy who was born in Brooklyn and raised in Queens, this is really meaningful,” said campaign spokesperson Evan Thies. 

Meanwhile, first-place ballot holder Foldenauer said he plans to capitalize on his stroke of luck before voters head to the polls on June 22. Anything can happen, he said.

“We still have nine weeks to go before the election, which is an eternity in politics,” he said.

The candidates in the Democratic mayoral primary will be listed on the ballot in the following order: 

  1. Aaron S. Foldenauer
  2. Dianne Morales
  3. Scott M. Stringer
  4. Raymond J. McGuire
  5. Maya D. Wiley
  6. Paperboy Love Prince
  7. Art Chang
  8. Kathryn A. Garcia
  9. Eric L. Adams
  10. Isaac Wright Jr.
  11. Shaun Donovan
  12. Andrew Yang

Reporting contributed by Ariama C. Long