2022 Race

Leite sticks with the social democrats to try to dethrone Doria

eduardo leite Leite to stick with the social democrats to try to dethrone Doria
Eduardo Leite. Photo: Itamar Aguiar/Piratini

Governor Eduardo Leite of Rio Grande do Sul has announced that he will step down from his office on Saturday (April 2). One of the rising stars of the Brazilian Social Democracy Party (PSDB), Mr. Leite lost the party’s presidential primaries to his São Paulo counterpart, João Doria. 

Until this weekend, Mr. Leite was rumored to be heading to the Social Democratic Party (PSD) for a chance to run for president. But unconvinced that his prospective party would actually prioritize his presidential candidacy over congressional races, the young 37-year-old governor decided to stay put.

By stepping down, Mr. Leite is making it clear that he will run for an office other than governor – the question is whether he will try to win a Senate seat or move to replace Mr. Doria, who is polling in the low single digits, as the PSDB presidential nominee.

During a speech on Monday, Mr. Leite said no other project could be above “our gut-feeling to create a viable alternative for the country [other than frontrunners Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva and Jair Bolsonaro].” 

Still, with limited national name recognition, the young governor would be the longest of shots in a scenario in which most voters say they have already made up their minds about who they’ll be voting for in October.