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Selecting from multiple applicants

I have 3 applicants that submitted their applications with about 2 weeks. One is a stand out in terms of credit 740 and no debt. The other is Rico 600 and Hugh debt. The high debt person submitted the application first. Am I obligated to chose based on first come first serve? Both have enough income to cover the rent, I just feel like the second one is less risky. I’m not sure if there are any laws that I don’t know about.

Go with the one you feel much better about.... you don't need not give any explanation,,
Until you the landlord decide on offering your rental to a tenant, you are free to choose from any applicants - there is no 'right of first refusal' in accepting applicants (yes, that's been thrown at me LOL!).  Very tough decision sometimes, but we tell the 2nd that we've only got one unit, you were a close 2nd, we are under verbal agreement with the 1st but will be in touch with you if things don't go as planned.  Good problem to have, wish you well!
Tenants LOVE to say this.  The first one at the open house is almost NEVER a good fit, but they try to say "we were first".  Choose the best option and tell the other one you had a more qualified candidate.  I sometimes refund the application fee if I feel bad about it.
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