2022 Race

Tarcísio de Freitas, Bolsonaro’s man in São Paulo, gets important support

Tarcísio de Freitas, Bolsonaro's man in São Paulo, gets important support
Polls show Tarcísio de Freitas with 15 percent voting intentions in the São Paulo governor’s race. Photo: Marcelo Casall Jr./ABr

The Social Democratic Party (PSD) has decided to back Tarcísio de Freitas, Jair Bolsonaro’s former Infrastructure Minister, in the race for governor of São Paulo.

The PSD holds the fifth-largest bench in the House and is notoriously ideologically fluid. At its foundation, more than a decade ago, chairman Gilberto Kassab said the party would be neither on the right, the left, nor in the center.” 

True to his words, Mr. Kassab negotiated his party’s support with the Workers’ Party before opting to join the Tarcísio de Freitas candidacy. 

The alliance means that Felício Ramuth, a former mayor of São José dos Campos — a sizable city in São Paulo state — will be Mr. Freitas’s nominee for lieutenant governor.

For Mr. Freitas, support from the PSD will bring him a valuable asset: more airtime for political ads on radio and television stations. In Brazil, that time is split among candidates according to the parliamentary representation of parties in a coalition. 

For a newcomer like Mr. Freitas, more airtime means greater possibilities for swaying voters his way.

The latest gubernatorial polls place former São Paulo Mayor Fernando Haddad ahead with 38 percent of votes, followed by Mr. Freitas and incumbent Rodrigo Garcia, who are in a statistical tie with 15 and 14 percent respectively.

Political observers believe Mr. Freitas has a lot of room for growth.