CHICAGO (CBS) — When Chicago voters cast their ballots for mayor in February, the first name they’ll see on their ballots will be Danny Davis.

U.S. Rep. Danny Davis won a candidate lottery Wednesday, taking the coveted No. 1 position on the ballot for mayor.

“We think this is a good omen, a good sign, a good beginning and we’re off and running,” Davis said.

Davis was one of the few candidates who attended the lottery for the seven candidates who filed their nominating petitions simultaneously at 9 a.m. on Nov. 15, the first day to file for the race.

The order for the rest of the candidates was: M. Tricia Lee, Rahm Emanuel, Miguel del Valle, Carol Moseley Braun, Wilfredo de Jesus, and Gery Chico. The remaining 13 candidates in the race will be listed in the order they filed their petitions.

The first and last positions on the ballot are seen as an advantage, especially for lesser-known candidates, as they stand out more to undecided voters who are not familiar with the candidates.

Howard Ray, a virtual unknown in Chicago political circles, was the last to file nominating petitions this year.

In all, 20 mayoral hopefuls have filed nominating papers to be on the ballot, but the list is likely to be shorter by Election Day because nearly a dozen of them face petition challenges, including Emanuel who faces questions about his residency.

The candidates are vying to replace retiring Mayor Richard M. Daley, who has run Chicago for more than 20 years and decided not to seek a seventh term.

Emanuel faces at least 30 challenges to his nominating papers. Objectors contend he doesn’t meet the residency requirement because he lived in Washington for nearly two years working for President Barack Obama. Emanuel’s campaign has dismissed such claims, arguing that Emanuel always intended to return home to Chicago where he still owns a home and votes.

Election officials are set to begin hearings Monday on hundreds of ballot challenges for candidates running for a variety of city offices in the Feb. 22 election.

Davis said winning the lottery was a boost because it guarantees voters will see his name first in a crowded field when it comes time to vote.

“I think it’s going to propel us on to victory,” he said.

(TM and © Copyright 2010 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS Radio and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2010 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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