Power

Brazil’s gubernatorial races show the power of incumbency bias

Incumbency bias tends to be strong in Brazil, and it has returned in force this year, with 12 of the 19 sitting governors running for re-election getting outright wins

Brazil’s gubernatorial races show the power of incumbency bias governors
Rooted in faith, Cláudio Castro’s re-election bid got almost 60 percent of the vote in Rio. Photo: Salty View/Shutterstock

Brazil’s last general election, in 2018, wasn’t great for incumbent governors seeking re-election. Four years ago, only half of the 20 candidates seeking another term succeeded. This year, in contrast, the country’s strong incumbency bias prevailed: 19 of the 27 sitting governors were up for re-election, and 12 were successful in the first round on Sunday — a record number in the country.

A further five have made it to the runoff, which will be held on October 30. It would only take two of them winning to top the previous record re-election success rate of around 70 percent, seen...

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