Since the election, I have gotten a lot of voter and reader comments about how difficult is was to find the candidates who drew the short straw and ended up at the bottom of the ballot.
Among them were gubernatorial candidates Charles Barron and Kristin Davis who were in a separate column because the Governor column was filled with cross endorsements and other candidates. People tell me it was confusing, so it may be more than coincidence the isolated candidates finished last and next to last with about half as many votes as the other candidates.
Another shrewd move that helped a candidate was Jimmy McMillans decision to have no running mate. That meant a single name in the box which stood out more and was more readable. (see comment below, Jimmy may have been more lucky than shrewd)
Of course McMillan's Rent too High schtick at the debate caught the media fancy and made him the publicity darling of the MSM. He became the novelty candidate.
None of the minor candidates had extensive organizations. The Greens and Libertarians do have a framework of organization which helped. Davis had the most sophisticated strategy effort with Roger's help. McMillan had nothing other than the buzz he got by wearing black gloves and barking "the Rents too DAMN High."
Now, I am not suggesting the whole race hinged on ballot position, but there is no doubt it is a factor, and that is why all these groups wanted to win ballot status for the next four years.
Message and candidate matter to be sure, but in the absence of a Golisano-size checkbook to buy your way to 50,000, the little things like position are a big deal.
Also, with fewer than 200,000 people willing to vote for a minor candidate, the five candidate field was crowded.
In the end, the Greens won ballot status. They also had the best ballot position on Tuesday.