Córdoba Province was the only region other than the autonomous Buenos Aires City that President Mauricio Macri managed to win outright in Sunday’s PASO primary elections. Unlike in the 2015 run-off, his margin of victory was not large enough to compensate for a general loss in the rest of the country.
In 2015, Macri won the province by over 930,000 votes, a crucial victory, given he went onto win the general election by only 680,600 votes. In other words, he would not have emerged victorious were it not for Córdoba. This amounted to winning 71 percent of the vote in the run-off and 53.22 in the first round, compared to Frente Para la Victoria’s (FpV) Daniel Scioli who received 19.26 percent.
The size of the victory is partially because of the province’s sour relations with Kirchnerismo. The province has long had a fraught relationship with Cristina Fernández de Kirchner since the 2008 conflict between the federal government and the agricultural sector and the 2013 police revolts, which both took place under the former president's watch. Many Cordobeses, to this day, believe she severely mishandled those situations.
By comparison to Macri’s massive victory in the province in 2015, on Sunday night the incumbent took home 48.18 percent compared to Frente de Todos candidate Alberto Fernández’ 30.39 percent – a margin of around 370,000 votes.
In an interview with the Times, Daniel Schteingart, a professor in sociology at the Universidad de San Martín, said recently that Macri had an opportunity to make up for votes lost in Córdoba with votes from the north of the country, which has traditionally been a Peronist stronghold.
This did not come to pass. With the exception of Misiones – where Macri gained around four points compared to the first round of voting in 2015 – Peronism performed roughly the same or better than last time out, turning in strong numbers in northern provinces.
Governor of the province, Juan “El Gringo” Schiaretti, who is a Peronist and defeated Radical Mario Negri back in May in the gubernatorial race, has made a point of not endorsing any candidate for president in this race, though analysts have said that he has tacitly supported Macri.
“Our decision is to have the correct relationship with whoever the next president is,” Schiaretti said, speaking after the PASO vote on Sunday.
He emphasised the success of his party Hacemos por Córdoba in the PASO, which, as he pointed out is a “list without a presidential candidate” (or a boleta corta as it is called).
As it stands now the party would receive two deputies – including head of the Hacemos por Córdoba list, Carlos Guitierrez – in the lower house Chamber of Deputies, receiving 16.7 percent of the vote in the PASO.
The figurehead of Macrismo in Córdoba, the aforemented Mario Negri was positive about the margin of victory in the province despite Macri’s massive loss nationwide.
“Winning is excellent and winning well is excellent,” he said.