Vote champions in this Sunday’s legislative elections for Brazil’s lower house included established political figures and relative newcomers on both the left and the right.
So-called vote champions are the legislative candidates who receive the highest number of votes in a given state. Due to the proportional voting system in place for elections to the Lower House, these strong players can help win seats for colleagues from their party or coalition.
Nikolas Ferreira, who belongs to President Jair Bolsonaro’s Liberal Party, is the candidate who received the highest number of votes this year, winning a seat to represent the state of Minas Gerais in the next four-year legislature with nearly 1.5 million votes.
The conservative Mr. Ferreira, who is 26 years old and was elected in 2020 as city councilor for Belo Horizonte, is now the most-voted Lower House representative in the state of Minas Gerais ever.
The record for Brazil continues to be held by Eduardo Bolsonaro, who in 2018 won a seat representing the state of São Paulo with 1.8 million votes. However, the performance of the president’s third-eldest son was something of a disappointment this year: although he won re-election as the third most-voted candidate in São Paulo, he lost more than a million votes, receiving just over 740,000.
In São Paulo, the leading vote champion is former presidential candidate and social activist Guilherme Boulos, from the left-wing Socialism and Freedom Party, with 1 million votes. The second-most voted candidate in Brazil’s largest electoral constituency is the bolsonarista Carla Zambelli, with some 946,000.
The opposition to President Bolsonaro scored wins in Minas Gerais, with more progressive candidates coming in second and third (although with just a fraction of the votes received by Mr. Ferreira). André Janones from the Avante party maintained his popularity and won a second term with just shy of 239,000 votes, while Duda Salabert from the leftist Democratic Labor Party made history as one of the first two trans women elected to federal congress in Brazil (the other is Erika Hilton, in São Paulo).
Despite these small victories for progressive politics, Bolsonarism appears to have come out on top. This is evident in the election of General Eduardo Pazuello, who served as Mr. Bolsonaro’s much-criticized health minister during the worst of the Covid pandemic, as the second-most voted Lower House representative in Rio de Janeiro, the country’s third-largest electoral constituency.
Meanwhile, lawmakers who rose to prominence by riding Mr. Bolsonaro’s coattails in 2018 but have since broken ties with the president suffered electoral defeats. This is notably the case of Joice Hasselmann, who in 2018 was a fervent supporter of Mr. Bolsonaro and became the most-voted woman ever with more than one million votes.
But Ms. Hasselmann, who became a critic of Mr. Bolsonaro after a very public falling out, failed to win a second term this year. Alexandre Frota, an outgoing federal lawmaker who was one of the first politicians to break with Mr. Bolsonaro at the start of his term in 2019, did not receive enough votes to secure a seat in the São Paulo state legislature.