| SAO PAULO
SAO PAULO Oct 3 Millionaire media mogul João
Doria's stunning entry into Brazilian politics with a crushing
first-round victory in Sao Paulo's mayoral race has fanned
mounting speculation about a presidential run by his main
Geraldo Alckmin, governor of Sao Paulo state, backed the
political newcomer against resistance from nearly every other
powerbroker in his Brazilian Social Democratic Party (PSDB), and
in doing so undercut rivals for the presidential nomination in
Capturing 53 percent of valid votes in Brazil's biggest city
on Sunday, Doria demolished a re-election bid by Mayor Fernando
Haddad, who took less than 17 percent as his Workers Party
suffered fallout from a vast corruption scandal and the
impeachment of former President Dilma Rousseff.
That clinched the Sao Paulo race in a single round of voting
for the first time under election rules that began in 1992. The
first-round win surprised even Doria's allies, capping his climb
from single-digit support after Alckmin offered his endorsement.
The former star of Brazilian TV show "The Apprentice" and
publisher of Caviar Lifestyle magazine bankrolled much of his
campaign with a personal fortune of 180 million reais ($56
million), drawing comparisons in a bruising primary race to U.S.
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump.
But Doria likened his run to another wealthy U.S.
businessman's late entry into politics, promising to run city
hall with the technocratic style of former New York Mayor
"I'm not a politician. I'm a businessman and administrator,"
Doria declared throughout the campaign, highlighting his work
building a media and conference conglomerate from nothing.
His outsider pitch connected with voters growing sick of a
political class stained with bribery allegations, but it also
played down the careful political groundwork laid by Alckmin.
The four-term governor assembled a 13-party coalition to
back Doria's bid, giving him more TV airtime than any other
candidate in Sao Paulo. Television advertising, apportioned
strictly under election law, is more valuable than ever after
recent limits on corporate campaign donations.
Voters may be tired of traditional candidates but party
structures remain crucial to campaigns, according to senior
analyst Carlos Bellini of political consultancy Arko Advice.
"I would say there is room for more names to appear like
Doria's, entering traditional parties with the rhetoric of
efficient administration," he said.
Few political parties in Brazil are as traditional as the
PSDB, and Sao Paulo is home to its most prominent elder
From former president Fernando Henrique Cardoso to Foreign
Minister Jose Serra, they lined up this year behind the mayoral
campaign of city councilman Andrea Matarazzo, a former
ambassador to Italy and communications minister under Cardoso.
Only Alckmin, who has built a political base over decades in
the smaller cities of the state's interior, dared to challenge
the consensus among the party's elite, and he was the only one
among them celebrating Doria's victory onstage on Sunday night.
Senator Aecio Neves, the PSDB candidate who lost Brazil's
2014 presidential race by 3 percentage points, told CBN radio on
Monday that it was too soon to discuss the next campaign.
Still, he recognized that it was an open race within his
party. The PSDB has nominated Neves, Serra and Alckmin in the
three most recent presidential campaigns.
"In 2018 our party will be even stronger, and our candidate
will be whoever has the best chance to win," he said.
($1 = 3.23 reais)
(Reporting by Brad Haynes; Additional reporting by Maria
Carolina Marcello in Brasilia and Eduardo Simoes in Sao Paulo;
Editing by Frances Kerry)