To contribute to a better understanding of Brazil’s recent rearrangement of political forces, including Bolsonaro's election, this presentation will discuss the ways political candidates imagine and perform politics in Recife. Interviewing and accompanying different politicians of the PT and PMDB parties and their advisors during the 2018 elections, I look at politics “from the other side”. First, this research presents the connections between different political actors, and explores the resources available to each one. Although the relationship between politicians of different levels is little explored in the literature, it is essential for the reproduction of their political capital, mainly through the distribution of resources from federal congress members, and the ability of councillors and mayors to mobilise votes. Second, the research analyses how these candidates and their staff navigate the new political setting, instrumentally mobilise votes and interpret the ways the urban poor engage with politics. I critically examine the tensions they experience in, on the one hand, attending to people’s direct needs and, on the other, the performance of what they consider a “truly noble politics”.