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Brazilian gubernatorial elections remain wide open

. Aug 24, 2018
elections joao doria paulo skaf sao paulo governor 2018 election state races São Paulo will be one of the tighest state races

With all of the buzz surrounding the presidential election, it is easy to forget that the Brazilian electorate will be casting six votes come Election Day on October 7. Besides casting ballots for the next president, Brazil will also elect federal and state lawmakers, senators, and governors. And it is this latter race which could have the most direct impact on the lives of Brazilians.

In the country’s key states, the gubernatorial disputes are set to go right down to the wire. Here, we break down the current state of play in the six most important state races.

São Paulo

In São Paulo, Brazil’s most populous and wealthiest state, all signs point to a two-horse race between center-right candidates João Doria and Paulo Skaf. This week’s opinion polls give Mr. Doria, who made his first foray into politics when elected Mayor of São Paulo in 2016, a slender lead. Pollsters Datafolha and Ibope show the Social Democracy Party candidate as having 25 and 20 percent, respectively, with Mr. Skaf close behind on 20 and 18 percent.

Incumbent Márcio França (who took over the governorship in April when Geraldo Alckmin stepped down to run for president) is sitting on 4 percent, level with Workers’ Party candidate Luiz Marinho.

</p> <p>São Paulo’s track record works in Mr. Doria’s favor. As a traditionally conservative state, the center-right Social Democracy Party has won every gubernatorial election in São Paulo since 1994. Last time around, in 2014, Geraldo Alckmin won re-election in the first round with 57 percent of valid votes. Mr. Doria won&#8217;t have it nearly as easy, however, as the election seems set to go to a runoff.</p> <p>His campaign will also be looking nervously at rejection rate polls, which show the former Mayor of São Paulo on top with 32 percent. Voters in the state capital haven&#8217;t forgiven him for <a href="https://brazilian.report/power/2017/10/24/sao-paulos-mayor-doria-pellet-faux-pas/">stepping down as mayor</a> only one year into his term to make the leap for governor.</p> <p>Paulo Skaf, President of the São Paulo Industry Federation and candidate for the center-right Brazilian Democratic Movement party, has been a mainstay on the São Paulo gubernatorial ballot in the last decade. He disputed the governor’s seat in 2010 and 2014, losing both times to Geraldo Alckmin.</p> <hr /> <p><img loading="lazy" class="alignnone size-large wp-image-7888" src="https://brazilian.report/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/export-xdDjt-1024x484.png" alt="joao doria paulo skaf sao paulo governor 2018 election state races" width="1024" height="484" srcset="https://brazilian.report/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/export-xdDjt-1024x484.png 1024w, https://brazilian.report/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/export-xdDjt-300x142.png 300w, https://brazilian.report/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/export-xdDjt-768x363.png 768w, https://brazilian.report/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/export-xdDjt-610x288.png 610w, https://brazilian.report/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/export-xdDjt.png 1096w" sizes="(max-width: 1024px) 100vw, 1024px" /></p> <hr /> <h2>Rio de Janeiro</h2> <p>By far the tightest race out of Brazil’s major states, the Rio de Janeiro governor’s election is currently a toss-up between three candidates. This week’s polls show Eduardo Paes, Romário, and Anthony Garotinho in a three-way statistical tie, with Datafolha and Ibope giving slight advantages to Mr. Paes and Romário, respectively.</p> <p>A former professional soccer player and world champion with Brazil in 1994, Romário is the tentative favorite at this point in the campaign. Having gone into politics in 2009, he was elected to the lower house in 2010 and then the Senate in 2014. While he polls reasonably well across economic classes and age groups, he is struggling to win the female vote. Ibope&#8217;s recent poll gave him 18 percent of votes among men, but only 9 percent among women.</p> <p>The former footballer will be heavily attacked by adversaries once television and radio ads start running, especially as he has recently been <a href="https://oglobo.globo.com/brasil/coaf-ve-indicios-de-lavagem-de-dinheiro-em-movimentacoes-financeiras-de-romario-22804712">accused of money laundering</a> by a watchdog of the Ministry of Finance. Romário is suspected of using his sister&#8217;s bank accounts to hide property and escape revenue authorities.</p> <p>Center-right candidate Eduardo Paes served two terms as the Mayor of Rio de Janeiro, holding the post from 2008 to 2016. However, his popularity took a nosedive near the end of his administration, and his appointed successor didn&#8217;t even make it to the runoff in the 2016 election. Mr. Paes has strong links to Eduardo Cunha, Sérgio Cabral, and Jorge Picciani, a trio of Rio de Janeiro politicians who are all under arrest for corruption charges. Mr. Paes himself has seen his name caught up in the scope of Operation Car Wash, having allegedly received unlawful funds from major construction firm Odebrecht.</p> <p>The unresolved question in the Rio de Janeiro governor’s race is that of the candidacy of Anthony Garotinho, who served as governor from 1999 to 2002. Mr. Garotinho is a convicted felon, having been sentenced by an appeals court for misconduct in office. His candidacy is currently under review, and he could be made ineligible for eight years. If he was barred from the ballot, the transfer of his votes could decide the election. As a fierce rival of Mr. Garotinho, Eduardo Paes is unlikely to receive any of his transferred votes, and the tendency is many of them will go to Romário.</p> <hr /> <p><img loading="lazy" class="alignnone size-large wp-image-7894" src="https://brazilian.report/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/export-RhxoW-1024x544.png" alt="joao doria paulo skaf sao paulo governor 2018 election state races" width="1024" height="544" srcset="https://brazilian.report/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/export-RhxoW-1024x544.png 1024w, https://brazilian.report/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/export-RhxoW-300x159.png 300w, https://brazilian.report/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/export-RhxoW-768x408.png 768w, https://brazilian.report/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/export-RhxoW-610x324.png 610w, https://brazilian.report/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/export-RhxoW.png 1096w" sizes="(max-width: 1024px) 100vw, 1024px" /></p> <hr /> <h2>Minas Gerais</h2> <p>In Minas Gerais, Southeast Brazil’s other major state, we have a governor standing for re-election in Workers’ Party candidate Fernando Pimentel. However, latest polls show Mr. Pimentel in second place, approximately 8 percentage points behind center-right Senator (and former governor) Antonio Anastasia. The dispute is set to be a two-horse race, after third-place Márcio Lacerda surrendered his candidacy on Tuesday.</p> <p>Mr. Anastasia has used his experience as his platform. He served as Governor of Minas Gerais between 2011 and 2014, while before that he was second-in-command to Aécio Neves during his second term as Governor. Mr. Pimentel has had a turbulent end to his term, amid growing opposition which even culminated in the filing of an impeachment process. The incumbent was accused of committing a crime of responsibility, but the case was suspended in May.</p> <hr /> <p><img loading="lazy" class="alignnone size-large wp-image-7893" src="https://brazilian.report/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/export-DSEUy-1024x396.png" alt="joao doria paulo skaf sao paulo governor 2018 election state races" width="1024" height="396" srcset="https://brazilian.report/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/export-DSEUy-1024x396.png 1024w, https://brazilian.report/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/export-DSEUy-300x116.png 300w, https://brazilian.report/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/export-DSEUy-768x297.png 768w, https://brazilian.report/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/export-DSEUy-610x236.png 610w, https://brazilian.report/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/export-DSEUy.png 1096w" sizes="(max-width: 1024px) 100vw, 1024px" /></p> <hr /> <h2>Bahia</h2> <p>Of Brazil&#8217;s four most populous states, Bahia is the only gubernatorial dispute which is all but decided, with the incumbent set to win in the first round. In what is a traditional stronghold of the Workers&#8217; Party, Governor Rui Costa is set to win re-election by a comfortable margin. Opinion polls from Ibope show Mr. Costa with 50 percent of voting intentions, which translates into 64 percent of valid votes (subtracting the percentage of spoiled ballots).</p> <hr /> <p><img loading="lazy" class="alignnone size-large wp-image-7891" src="https://brazilian.report/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/export-4VppE-1024x306.png" alt="joao doria paulo skaf sao paulo governor 2018 election state races" width="1024" height="306" srcset="https://brazilian.report/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/export-4VppE-1024x306.png 1024w, https://brazilian.report/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/export-4VppE-300x90.png 300w, https://brazilian.report/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/export-4VppE-768x230.png 768w, https://brazilian.report/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/export-4VppE-610x183.png 610w, https://brazilian.report/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/export-4VppE.png 1096w" sizes="(max-width: 1024px) 100vw, 1024px" /></p> <hr /> <h2>Pernambuco</h2> <p>Bahia’s neighbors to the north, Pernambuco is set to have an interesting gubernatorial race which will a traditional local hegemony to the test. Incumbent Paulo Câmara, of the center-left Brazilian Socialist Party, is attempting re-election. Datafolha polls show he is in the lead with 30 percent, put a 3 percent margin of error means he is statistically tied with second-placed Armando Monteiro, of the center-right Brazilian Labor Party, who is on 25 percent.</p> <p>The Socialist Party (which is socialist by name, not by nature) is strong in Pernambuco, thanks to the legacy of Miguel Arraes, the three-time Governor who was made a political prisoner during the military dictatorship. His grandson, the late Eduardo Campos, also served as Governor, winning two terms from 2007 to 2014.</p> <hr /> <p><img loading="lazy" class="alignnone size-large wp-image-7892" src="https://brazilian.report/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/export-xRAse-1024x521.png" alt="joao doria paulo skaf sao paulo governor 2018 election state races" width="1024" height="521" srcset="https://brazilian.report/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/export-xRAse-1024x521.png 1024w, https://brazilian.report/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/export-xRAse-300x153.png 300w, https://brazilian.report/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/export-xRAse-768x391.png 768w, https://brazilian.report/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/export-xRAse-610x311.png 610w, https://brazilian.report/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/export-xRAse.png 1096w" sizes="(max-width: 1024px) 100vw, 1024px" /></p> <hr /> <h2>Rio Grande do Sul</h2> <p>Since Brazil&#8217;s return to democracy, no Governor has ever won re-election in the southern state of Rio Grande do Sul. The electorate always favors a candidate of the opposition. If polls are to be believed, however, this could be about to change. According to Ibope, incumbent José Ivo Sartori is leading the race with 19 percent, a healthy distance ahead of his rivals, who are all statistically tied.</p> <p>However, the same poll showed that 22 percent of voters are undecided, and that Mr. Sartori has the highest rejection levels by some distance, with 44 percent. In a runoff, the incumbent could end up losing his seat, maintaining the state&#8217;s historic trend.</p> <hr /> <p><img loading="lazy" class="alignnone size-large wp-image-7890" src="https://brazilian.report/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/export-6jHpw-1024x441.png" alt="joao doria paulo skaf sao paulo governor 2018 election state races" width="1024" height="441" srcset="https://brazilian.report/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/export-6jHpw-1024x441.png 1024w, https://brazilian.report/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/export-6jHpw-300x129.png 300w, https://brazilian.report/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/export-6jHpw-768x331.png 768w, https://brazilian.report/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/export-6jHpw-610x263.png 610w, https://brazilian.report/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/export-6jHpw.png 1096w" sizes="(max-width: 1024px) 100vw, 1024px" />

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