Jair Bolsonaro was the first candidate for the presidency that was able to raise over a $1 million reais in donations from the public during the 2018 campaign. In the first 59 days, he amassed an average of $17,000 reais per day in donations.
Bolsonaro was stabbed on 6 September while he was campaigning in Juiz de Fora. He recovered, and was the leading candidate in the first round on 7 October, with 46% of the vote.
On 28 October 2018, Bolsonaro won the general election with 55.13% of the popular vote.
The National Executive Committee of Social Liberal Party, and the National Executive Committee of the Brazilian Labour Renewal Party, elected the candidate for office of vice-president and the National Directory of PSL, elected the candidate to President of republic. Karina Rodrigues Fidelix da Cruz (PRTB), appointed by PRTB, and Gulliem Charles Bezerra Lemos (PSL), appointed by PSL, were the delegates of the coalition. Gustavo Bebiano Rocha was the representative of the slate for the Supreme Electoral Court. Janaína Paschoal refused to be the vice-president candidate together Bolsonaro.
Before his campaign, Bolsonaro desired that the senator Magno Malta (from the Party of Republic) or Augusto Heleno,(from the Progressive Republican Party) become the vice-president in his slate, but their parties did not allow the two of them to compete together.
During his campaign, Bolsonaro has praised the two-decade (1964-1985) military dictatorship in Brazil and has praised foreign autocrats such as Alberto Fujimori of Peru and Augusto Pinochet of Chile. Bolsonaro has promised to give police permission to shoot first and ask questions later. His platform also promotes liberalizing gun laws and repressive tactics against urban criminality and drug trafficking, along with the advocation of rolling back affirmative action for black-Brazilians and reversing legislation which increases sentences for murdering women because of their gender (femicide).
Despite earlier calls for massive policy shifts in environmentalism, Bolsonaro backed away from calls to pull Brazil out of the Paris Agreements, and the elimination of Brazil's Environmental Ministry. However he told international non-profit groups such as the World Wildlife Fund, that he would not allow their agendas in Brazil, strongly protested against lands reserved for indigenous tribes, and plans to expand nuclear and hydroelectric power into the Amazon.
Some supporters of Bolsonaro have compared him to US President Donald Trump, and believe that he, like Trump, will bring the radical change that they feel is needed in response to the "lawlessness" of Brazil, with many nicknaming Bolsonaro "the legend."Steve Bannon (chief executive officer of Trump's 2016 presidential bid) has advised Bolsonaro's campaign.
Social media is believed[by whom?] to have made a large impact on Bolsonaro's campaign and at the time of the election he had over 4.3 million followers and many support pages on Facebook along with over 400 thousand followers on Instagram, making him one of the candidates with the largest support on social media. He made daily posts related to army topics and aimed at the Partido dos Trabalhadores (PT) and also interacted with many supporters through posts, replies, and groups on WhatsApp. During the election Bolsonaro faced allegations that some of his important financial supporters illegally used WhatsApp as means to spread fake news about his opponent Haddad, prompting the company to ban thousands of active accounts during the election period. His supporters have been credited as being extremely active on social media and disseminate most content throughout WhatsApp as almost 93% of them claim to have accounts where almost 43% are politically active in the App.
Bolsonaro's supporters were primarily aged between 16 and 34 years old at about 60% of his voters, almost 30% of which were 24 years old or younger.
As of late September, Bolsonaro led the polls with 28% of polled voters, with an Ibope poll (22-24 September) stating that 36% of men surveyed said they would vote for him, while only 18% of women backing his policies. A Datafolha poll released on 10 September showed that Bolsonaro was rejected by 49% of female voters, but supported by 17%. In the first round of elections on 7 October, Bolsonaro received 46.03% of the vote, the most of any candidate.
Bolsonaro was stabbed on 6 September 2018 while campaigning and interacting with supporters in the city of Juiz de Fora, Minas Gerais. Bolsonaro's son, Flávio, has stated that his father's wounds were only superficial and he was recovering in hospital. Police arrested and identified the attacker as Adelio Bispo de Oliveira, who claimed that he was "ordered by God to carry out the attack". Flávio Bolsonaro later stated that the wounds inflicted seem worse than initially thought. He tweeted about his father's condition, explaining that the perforation reached part of the liver, the lung and part of the intestine. He also stated that Bolsonaro had lost a large amount of blood, arriving at the hospital with a pressure of 10/3, but had since stabilized. Most of the other candidates in the presidential race (from both sides of the political spectrum), and the current Brazilian president, Michel Temer, condemned the attack.
After the end of the elections, Bolsonaro decided to donate the rest of the money collected in the campaign, to the Santa Casa de Misericórdia Hospital, where he got hospital treatment after the assassination attempt.
Hundreds of thousands of women across Brazil staged protests on September 29, against Bolsonaro's candidacy. One protestor told reporters "I'm part of a portion of society that is greatly affected by the types of things [Bolsonaro] says and thinks. This conservative wave, which has really always existed in Brazil, needs to come to an end." Protestors in São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and Brasilia chanted "Ele Não (Not him!)" which has become a slogan to protest Bolsonaro, emphasizing that the groups aims are for the undecided voters to vote "for anyone else, but not him." Many protestors have expressed outrage over past statements by Bolsonaro that homosexuality was equated with paedophilia, and that he once told Congresswoman Maria do Rosario that she wasn’t worth raping, citing these events as reasons to protest his campaign.