2022 Race

Flagging in polls, Doria admits to dropping out of presidential race

Doria admits dropping out
Governor João Doria. Photo: Rovena Rosa/ABr

João Doria entered electoral politics in 2016 with one goal: winning Brazil’s presidency. The two races he won — for mayor of São Paulo in 2016, and governor of São Paulo state in 2018 — were merely stepping stones for him. But now, just months away from the presidential race, Mr. Doria has admitted the possibility of withdrawing his candidacy. 

“I won’t put my personal project ahead of that which has always been my nature,” he said during an event hosted by investment bank BTG Pactual. “If in the future I have to land my support [to someone else] in order to break the nightmarish dichotomy of Lula and Jair Bolsonaro, I will be next to those who are better-positioned.”

The governor’s words come as pressure for him to drop out of the race increases — even from within his own Brazilian Social Democracy Party (PSDB). A group of former party heads is trying to schedule a meeting of the PSDB top brass for March, which is reportedly the deadline for Mr. Doria’s candidacy to start reaching better polling numbers.

While the moves within the PSDB for Mr. Doria to pull out are legitimate — he lacks popular support and is extremely polarizing among politicians — they also repeat what has been a tragic loop for the party: internal divisions, electoral underperformance, and shrinking influence in national politics.