This article considers the political situation of an authoritarian province in a nationally democratic country. The objective is to uncover strategies that incumbents (in this article, governors) pursue to perpetuate provincial authoritarian regimes, as well as dynamics that can undermine such regimes. A central insight is that controlling the scope of provincial conflict (that is, the extent to which it is localized or nationalized) is a major objective of incumbents and oppositions in struggles over local democratization. Authoritarian incumbents will thus pursue "boundary control" strategies, which are played out in multiple arenas of a national territorial system. The article fleshes out these processes via comparative analysis of two conflicts over subnational democratization in 2004: the state of Oaxaca in Mexico and the province of Santiago del Estero in Argentina.