Brazilian Presidential Candidate Eduardo Campos Dies in Plane Crash

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from The Wall Street Journal,

Socialist Party Hopeful Among Seven Killed After Private Jet Comes Down in Residential Area.

Eduardo Campos, the Brazilian Socialist Party candidate for president in October’s elections, was killed Wednesday after the private jet in which he was traveling plowed into a residential district of the coastal city of Santos.

Officials said the plane’s landing in Santos was aborted during poor weather and the pilot had been attempting to change course.

All seven people aboard the Cessna 560 XL died, according to Julio Cesar Delgado, a congressman from Mr. Campos’s Brazilian Socialist Party. Also killed were the pilot, co-pilot, a reporter, a photographer and two of Mr. Campos’ campaign aides, Mr. Delgado said.

Campaign officials said they had lost contact with Mr. Campos this morning after he left Rio de Janeiro at 9:23 a.m. local time en route to a meeting in Santos, about 35 miles south of São Paulo.

Mr. Campos’s death could rewrite the political calculus of Brazil’s October presidential election by turning it into a serious three-way race with incumbent President Dilma Rousseff and her main rival, Aécio Neves of the Brazilian Social Democracy Party.

That is because Mr. Campos could be succeeded by his popular and nationally known running mate, vice presidential candidate Marina Silva, who garnered nearly 19% of the vote in the 2010 presidential contest.

A deeply religious environmental activist from Brazil’s Amazon region, she has been exploring another presidential run this year. But her party was unable to meet electoral requirements to get her onto the ballot. After that effort failed, she joined Mr. Campos’s ticket as vice president.

Now, political analysts widely expect Ms. Silva to run for president, a scenario that is permissible under Brazilian election law, these analysts say.

Ms. Silva’s environmental and social activism in the Amazon, dating to her days at the side of the slain activist Chico Mendes, are likely to appeal to Ms. Rousseff’s left-wing base. Meanwhile, the perception of her as a reformer may appeal to more conservative supporters of Mr. Neves. Ms. Silva, for example, has won support from many bankers and fund managers in Brazil’s traditionally conservative São Paulo financial district.

Ms. Silva could be a game-changer, said João Augusto de Castro Neves, Latin America director at Eurasia Group In Washington. “She will threaten both Dilma and Aécio.”

Ms. Silva is also an evangelical Christian, which could appeal to Brazil’s growing population of politically active evangelicals. Ms. Silva won much of the evangelical vote in the first round of the 2010 election, though she didn’t specifically campaign for it. That effect will likely be limited this time as an evangelical pastor already in the race is actively courting that vote.

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