It is the last few weeks of campaigning prior to the PASO primaries – and both Horacio Rodríguez Larreta and Patricia Bullrich are pressing ahead with their schedules to get votes in the final stretch.
Their schedules are centred, at least twice a week, on Buenos Aires Province, where nearly 40 percent of the electorate will vote, and where a tough battle will be waged between territory leaders: only three municipalities will not have primaries. And this chapter also promises a strong vote-by-vote fight in many districts which has been overstepping the mark within Juntos por el Cambio.
However, both candidates’ agenda also include the capital of the eight Buenos Aires constituencies.
In the case of the Buenos Aires City mayor, after a tour and rally in La Plata yesterday evening with PRO mayor, Julio Garro, and gubernatorial hopeful, Diego Santilli, on Thursday he will spend the entire day in La Matanza.
In total, it will be seven hours he will spend with both allied mayoral candidates and candidate for national deputy, Miguel Ángel Pichetto.
Rodrïguez Larreta has been travelling around the municipality every three weeks on his own, or with other hopefuls. Juntos por el Cambio has three candidates there: Radical Josefina Mendoza, ‘Lilito’ Toty Flores and Bullrichist Lalo Creus.
The mayor5 spent Wednesday morning launching his housing proposal and then visited the La Rural Exposition, after his speech on Tuesday where he presented his economic guidelines.
On Thursday he will travel to Entre Ríos Province where he will announce a new proposal called “The engines of growth”. Then he will tour with Rogelio Frigerio, the candidate of both presidential hopefuls for the gubernatorial post.
That very night he will go to Misiones, where he will be the main speaker at a gathering with militants in Concepción de la Sierra. On Friday he will head for Posadas, where his agenda will be a combination of meetings with neighbours and producers.
In the afternoon, Rodrïguez Larreta will return to Corrientes, the land ruled by Radical Gustavo Valdés, who has been playing at being supposedly neutral, but this will be the second time he welcomes the mayor in less than two months. There he will have activities with local residents.
Bullrich, in turn, is ramping up her schedule in Buenos Aires Province. With Néstor Grindetti, her gubernatorial hopeful, she will travel to Bahía Blanca on Thursday and will tour the city, the capital of the Sixth Electoral District, on Friday. She has an agreement there with local PRO Mayor Héctor Gay and powerful provincial Senator Nidia Moirano. She is also expected to visit Tres Arroyos.
On Wednesday, the presidential hopeful toured the provinces of Formosa, Corrientes and Chaco to support Juntos por el Cambio candidates. She was accompanied, among others, by Radical Senator Luis Naidenoff, Governor Valdés and Leandro Zdero, who will run for the governorship of Chaco.
At the same time, in the team meeting held by Bullrich on Monday there was no progress in understanding her rival’s view over sharing a common bunker on election night.
Even though negotiations will continue over the next few days, Bullrichists continue to believe that the conditions to share the Costa Salguero site, the historic PRO bunker booked by the Rodríguez Larreta team three weeks ago, are not in place.
What is more, collaborators of the former security minister have booked another site as their own bunker. "It’s a problem for us in terms of having our own space for our leaders, also to wait for results, assess precincts,” sources in Bullrich’s camp say.
A strong argument: Martín Lousteau and Jorge Macri do not agree about sharing it either. The tensions between them are stronger than those between Rodríguez Larreta and Bullrich. Both blocs believe that it would be complex to convince themselves that, in the wake of Franco Rinaldi’s resignation, accusations and chicanery, they would want to wait for results between the semi-open VIP areas on the ground floor of the Costa Salguero complex.
However, negotiations continue. Juan Pablo Arenaza, head of Bullrich’s campaign, has been talking to Eduardo Macchiavelli, one of Rodríguez Larreta’s most trusted advisors. The issue is still open. But Bullrich still thinks that she might be the reason behind a great conflict to share the bunker.
“If either of them wins by 10 points it wouldn’t be an issue, but if they are even it would. And the same could happen in the City, the Province or another city,” a Bullrich-aligned wheeler-dealer stressed.