Chelsea Manning files to run for US Senate in Maryland


By Justin Jouvenal and Jenna Portnoy | Washington Post

Chelsea Manning, the transgender former Army private who was convicted of passing sensitive government documents to Wikileaks, has filed to run for the U.S. Senate in Maryland, according to federal election filings.

Manning, who did not immediately respond to a request for comment, would be challenging Democrat Sen. Ben Cardin, who has served two terms in the Senate and is up for re-election in November. Cardin is Maryland’s senior senator and is considered an overwhelming favorite to win a third term.

Manning, 30, who is formerly known as Bradley Manning, was convicted in 2013 of the largest leak of classified documents in U.S. history and was sentenced to 35 years in prison. Last year, then-President Barack Obama commuted Manning’s sentence to time served, and she was released from a military prison in Kansas.

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The news of Manning’s filing caught Maryland’s political class by surprise Saturday afternoon. It was first reported in a tweet by conservative media outlet Red Maryland.

Cardin, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, has an extensive fundraising base within Maryland and is not considered particularly vulnerable to a challenge from within the state. However, an outside candidate with national name recognition, such as Manning, could tap a network of donors interested in elevating a progressive agenda.

Cardin’s spokeswoman and the Democratic Party of Maryland declined to comment on Manning’s filing.

Manning moved to Maryland after her release from prison. Since then, she has written for The Guardian and Medium on issues of transparency, free speech and civil liberties, transgender rights and computer security, according to her website.

Manning’s statement of candidacy was filed with the Federal Elections Commission on Thursday. She is running as a Democrat and refers to Maryland as her “home state” on her website. The Democratic primary is scheduled for the end of June.

Manning’s first column for The Guardian said Obama’s election in 2008 was a political awakening for her. Manning wrote Obama left behind “hints of a progressive legacy,” but very few permanent accomplishments.

“This vulnerable legacy should remind us that what we really need is a strong and unapologetic progressive to lead us,” Manning wrote. “What we need as well is a relentless grassroots movement to hold that leadership accountable.”

Evan Greer, campaign director of the non-profit organization Fight for the Future and a close supporter of Manning while she was imprisoned, said the news is exciting.

“Chelsea Manning has fought for freedom and sacrificed for it in ways that few others have,” Greer wrote in an email. “The world is a better place with her as a free woman, and this latest news makes it clear she is only beginning to make her mark on it.”

Todd Eberly, a political science professor at St. Mary’s College of Maryland, said Trump’s unexpected rise to chief executive opened the door for political neophytes, such as Manning.

“My initial …read more

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