Rio de Janeiro elected an evangelical bishop as mayor on Sunday.

Sen. Marcelo Crivella took 59 percent of the vote in the municipal runoff election, easily beating his opponent, socialist state Rep. Marcelo Freixo, who received 41 percent of the vote. Fifty-seven Brazilian cities held runoff votes on Sunday.

Crivella, 59, is a bishop of the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God, an evangelical church founded by his uncle Edir Macedo. He was first elected to the Brazilian Senate in 2002. He unsuccessfully ran for mayor in 2004 and 2008. Two attempts to become governor of Rio de Janeiro state were also unsuccessful.

“I pray to God that my public life, as rocky as it has been, can teach all Cariocas that our time always comes when we do not give up,” Crivella, using the name by which Rio residents are known, told supporters of Sunday.

Crivella is opposed to the legal recognition of gay and lesbian couples, but has said that he supports equal rights for gay men and lesbians.

As a preacher, Crivella attracts very large crowds. He wrote in a book after an evangelical mission in Africa that gay people are victims of a “terrible evil.” He also criticized the Roman Catholic Church, writing that it “preaches demonic doctrines.”