2022 Race

Senator Simone Tebet launches 2022 presidential campaign

Senator Simone Tebet Photo: Roque de Sá/SF
Senator Simone Tebet. Photo: Roque de Sá/SF

First-term Senator Simone Tebet announced that she will enter the 2022 presidential race, representing the Brazilian Democratic Movement (MDB) party. During an event at a Brasília hotel, she showed a four-minute video introducing herself to voters and presenting what she calls “a new hope for Brazil.”

In the video, Ms. Tebet — the only woman in the electoral running so far — bashes President Jair Bolsonaro for his Covid response and for the country’s poor economic situation. “The difficulty to obtain revenue, the rise of extreme poverty, and record unemployment have hindered trust in the country.” 

She joins a crowded field of candidates trying to insert themselves as an alternative to the two best-known politicians on the 2022 ballot: former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva and the incumbent, Mr. Bolsonaro. Recent polls suggest that the former would win in a first-round landslide were the election to take place today.

To call Ms. Tebet’s presidential bid a longshot would be an understatement. The 51-year-old has a short political career, serving as the mayor in her small hometown of Três Lagoas before winning a Senate seat in 2014. Barely known by voters, Ms. Tebet has not been included in most presidential opinion polls.

Still, launching her presidential campaign could be a good move for her political career. Once a promising political star in her home state of Mato Grosso do Sul, she is now flagging in the polls for re-election next year. Despite saying otherwise, the best-case scenario for her candidacy — which is not even a consensus within her party — could be a promotion to a vice-president spot on a more competitive “third-way” ticket.

She has been courted by both São Paulo Governor João Doria — who has pedestrian polling numbers — and former Justice Minister Sergio Moro, who has shown more potential to force a runoff stage against Lula.

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