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LGBTQ Governor Who Backed Bolsonaro Now Wants Brazil's Top Job

Eduardo Leite is young, investor-friendly and vying for the Brazilian presidency.

Eduardo Leite
Photographer: Tiago Coelho/Bloomberg

The presidential hopeful favored by investors in what's shaping up to be a divisive and brutal election campaign in Brazil is the 36-year-old governor of a conservative state who just came out as LGBTQ.

Eduardo Leite rode President Jair Bolsonaro’s right-wing wave into office in 2018, winning over financial markets with a program of fiscal austerity and privatizations in his southern state of Rio Grande do Sul, which shares borders with Argentina and Uruguay. His challenge now is to make himself known to the broader population, who largely have never heard of him, starting with Brazilians who reject both the incumbent and his leftist adversary, former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.

He walks a fine line. He criticizes Bolsonaro but voted for him. And he says that although he supports equality, he won’t be an activist for LGBTQ rights.