Former United States Ambassador to Costa Rica, Peter Cianchette, has been looked to for another run for governor ever since he narrowly lost to John Baldacci in the 2002 gubernatorial election.
In 2006, he initially looked poised to run again, but ended up withdrawing from the race abruptly. For the 2010 election, he has never been seriously talked about as a candidate, partly because he himself has insisted that he is not running. Eager to both return to the private sector, and spend time with his family, it seemed more or less a given that he wasn’t planning to run.
But this morning I was tipped off to some interesting behavior from the former Ambassador.
It seems that the long dormant Cianchette accounts on both Facebook and LinkedIn have begun to make some noise. The dust has been blown off these platforms, and apparently Cianchette (or his staff) is aggressively growing the base of connections on both. The additions also appear to be quite selective, with prominent campaign workers for the other gubernatorial candidates being denied friend requests.
This is something that occurred with State Senator Peter Mills – and is what tipped me off that a formal rollout of his campaign was about to begin. My observation about Mills back in July:
This appearance comes at the same time that Mills seems to be gearing up for another battle for the Blaine House. A couple weeks ago he friended me on Facebook, which then told me he was new to the service and I should recommend him some friends. Today, Mills has over 1,100 friends and his custom handle is “Mills for Maine”. On top of that he is becoming a fan of everything Maine related, and is aggressively engaging the Facebook community.
Not exactly subtle, this one.
That activity was very similar to what we are witnessing here.
Now, it is important to note that Mills was also engaging in a very public way on several issues – specifically healthcare and taxes, so his building of a large base of Facebook supporters simply re-inforced other signals he was sending. But this kind of behavior can not be ignored.
Still – I will not be moving from the “he’s not running” to the “he’s running” camp. I will still need to see several other noteworthy activities before I will honestly start to believe he is jumping in. Many traditional steps – such as registering a website anonymously – have not yet been done, or at least not that I could find, so I remain extremely skeptical. Coming out of the cave and making a few public speeches would certainly also be a step in that direction.
For what it is worth, I reached out to the campaigns of several of the already announced Republicans, and those I spoke with seemed very doubtful that he was running.
But clearly Mr. Cianchette is up to something. Only time will tell if that something is re-entering the world of public life. If he does, it has the potential to completely flip the Republican primary on its head.