Sen. Marcelo Crivella easily beat his opponent, socialist state Rep. Marcelo Freixo, 59% against 41%.
Crivella is the nephew of Edir Macedo, a media magnate who founded the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God, a flourishing evangelical Christian empire best known building a 10,000-seat rendition of Solomon’s Temple covering an entire block in Brazil’s megacity. Macedo correctly banked on the sprawling 11-story complex attracting newcomers to his church.
The number of evangelicals in Brazil climbed to 22 percent of the population in 2010 from 15 percent in 2000, despite Catholics still being the majority. Crivella is an evangelical bishop known for religious songs on YouTube including such pro-Israeli songs as ‘I’m Israel.’
The conservative Crivella’s triumph is the latest display of widespread anger at Brazil’s established left-wing parties amid the country’s worst recession in decades and the aftermath of an impeachment trial that threw the incumbent leftist party out after 13 years in power.
In polls that preceded the election he was clearly favored by Rio residents.