WASHINGTON – Chelsea Manning, the former soldier and transgender citizen who was sentenced to prison for leaking confidential US government documents to Wikileaks, has filed to run for the US Senate from the state of Maryland, according to Federal Election Commission records.
Manning will challenge Democrat Ben Cardin – who has occupied the post of senator for two terms, will run for reelection again in November and is considered a great favorite to continue in that position.
Cardin, the highest ranking Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, has a wide base of contributors in his state and is not particularly vulnerable.
However, analysts say that an outsider candidate with national name recognition like Manning could benefit from a network of donors interested in pushing the progressive agenda.
Chelsea Manning, 30, previously known as Bradley Manning, was found guilty in 2013 of the biggest leaking of classified documents in US history, which included 700,000 battlefield reports and diplomatic cables as well as a video of a 2007 US helicopter attack in Iraq.
She was sentenced to 35 years in prison, by far the longest prison term ever imposed in the United States for leaking classified documents.
But last year, then-President Barack Obama commuted Manning’s sentence and she was released from the military prison in Kansas where she was being held.
In all, Manning served a total of seven years behind bars, having endured more than three years of pre-trial detention under conditions that a formal UN investigation deemed “cruel, inhuman and degrading.”