By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter
SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL – More than 8.8 million residents of São Paulo city will go to the polls on Sunday, October 2nd, to choose the city’s new mayor and 55 council representatives. While three of the candidates seeking the city’s top post have already held the position, the candidate leading the mayoral race, at time of writing, is a newcomer to the electoral process.
Businessman João Doria Jr., of the Brazilian Social Democratic Party (PSDB) was a TV personality before accepting a position as Tourism Secretary under the government of Mayor Mario Covas. Doria later headed Brazil’s Tourism Board (Embratur) under President Jose Sarney’s administration.
The wealthy entrepreneur is winning over voters by emphasizing his administration skills. “I will bring my experience in the private sector to efficiently manage São Paulo,” he guarantees voters in his social media accounts. According to the latest Datafolha poll, Doria is leading the race in São Paulo, with thirty percent of voter intention.
Consumer rights activist and fifth-term Congressman Celso Russomanno, of the Brazilian Republican Party (PRB) is in second place with 22 percent of voter intention.
The current mayor, Fernando Haddad, from the Workers Party (PT) was Minister of Education during former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva’s administration and the most recent polls show him technically tied in third place with Senator Marta Suplicy, with little chance of going to the run-off election on October 30th.
Senator Marta Suplicy, now a member of the Brazilian Democratic Movement Party (PMDB) was mayor of São Paulo city between 2000 and 2004 while still in the PT party. A long time PT militant, Suplicy held cabinet positions in both the Lula and Rousseff administrations, before having a fall out with top party members in 2015.
Another former PT party member and former São Paulo mayor, Luiza Erundina, is fifth in the polls. Erundina governed the city between 1989 and 1993, when still affiliated to the PT. She has been elected four times to the House of Representatives, and is currently the representative from PSOL.