By Pat Loeb

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Pennsylvania judicial candidates got their ballot positions on Friday and for some of them, it may be the determining factor in whether or not they become judges.

Jon Tannen of Econsult studied the impact of party backing, newspaper endorsements, and bar association recommendations on Common Pleas judge elections.

“Being in the first column was more important than any of those,” he said.

Candidates in the first column got double the votes of those in the third column, “and the candidate with the very first ballot position, top row, first column, won in each of the last four elections.”

That might seem discouraging to, say, 41 of the 48 candidates running in the democratic primary in May, but some are staying optimistic.

“At the end of the day, ballot position helps, but it’s not going to make a campaign,” said Zach Shaffer.

Shaffer pulled slot number 21, but he says he’s working hard to get out his name and criminal justice reform message.

Plus, 21? It could be worse.

“I’ll take it. Better than 22,” said Shaffer.

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