2022 Race

Doria suggests withdrawing to create third-way unity against Lula and Bolsonaro

Doria third-way unity Lula Bolsonaro
João Doria: “humility to drop out.” Photo: BW Press/Shutterstock

Since entering electoral politics in 2016, businessman João Doria has set his eyes on the presidency. Every election since — from the São Paulo mayoral dispute in 2016 and the gubernatorial race two years later — were mere stepping stones toward his ultimate goal. But polling in the low single-digits one year away from the election, Mr. Doria now admits to the possibility of putting his dream on hold.

“All of us presidential hopefuls [wishing to break with the dichotomy of former President Lula and President Bolsonaro] must have the humility to drop out, if necessary, to rally around a potential winner,” he told weekly magazine Veja, adding that, even if he is not that “possible winner,” he would not seek re-election.

Late in November, Mr. Doria’s Brazilian Social Democracy Party will hold its presidential primaries. Governor Doria and Eduardo Leite, his counterpart from Rio Grande do Sul, are the two frontrunners. But neither seems poised to win against Lula, the center-left icon who has extended his early lead in overall polls.