2022 Race

Lula-Alckmin duo could sway São Paulo governor’s race

Former São Paulo Geraldo Alckmin could be a kingmaker in his state. Photo: Valter Campanato/ABr
Former São Paulo Geraldo Alckmin could be a kingmaker in his state. Photo: Valter Campanato/ABr

A poll by the Ipespe institute shows that former São Paulo Mayor Fernando Haddad, of the center-left Workers’ Party, is the early frontrunner for the governor’s office in Brazil’s richest and most populous state. 

In one potential scenario, Mr. Haddad — who was the presidential runner-up in 2018 — is tied with former Governor Geraldo Alckmin with 20 percent of the vote. In another, without Mr. Alckmin, the Workers’ Party would-be candidate reaches 28 percent.

The poll highlights how important it is for Lula to pull off his intended alliance with Mr. Alckmin — who could be on Lula’s October 2022 ticket as a VP candidate. The move would not only remove him from the race in São Paulo, but give Mr. Haddad a powerful endorsement. 

At one stage in the poll, voters are informed of the key endorsements for each candidate. Having Mr. Alckmin in his corner takes Mr. Haddad to 38 percent of the vote — against 25 percent for Infrastructure Minister Tarcísio de Freitas, who is backed by President Jair Bolsonaro.

Of all possible candidates for governor, Messrs. Alckmin and Haddad had the highest voting potential — albeit with high rejection rates. Lula has reached out to Mr. Alckmin, a bonafide mainstream conservative, as a way to lower resistance from market agents and boost his party’s chances of controlling the state of São Paulo for the first time ever.

The poll also shows the many struggles facing incumbent Governor João Doria. Despite having positive economic indicators to show for himself, Mr. Doria’s rejection is higher than his approval ratings (36-24) and his protégé, Lieutenant Governor Rodrigo Garcia, only reaches 10 percent of the vote once the electorate is made aware of his ties to Mr. Doria.

It is fair to assume challengers to Mr. Haddad will grow in strength as the election approaches, which is why securing an alliance with Mr. Alckmin takes top priority.