According to papers filed with the Federal Election Commission last week, Chelsea Manning is running for the US Senate in the state of Maryland. The January 11th filing registers Manning as a Democrat, meaning she will run against incumbent Ben Cardin.
At 30, Manning meets exactly the minimum age requirement to run. It’s not clear what Manning believes qualifies her for high office. She studied English at Montgomery College for a single semester before dropping out, and has never completed a university degree.
She has recently tweeted in protest against National Law Enforcement Appreciation Day, declaring “fuck the police” and that Americans “live in a full blown domestic occupation.”
Manning has also spoken out against over-classification and lack of government transparency, particularly in the area of national security.
Aside from these two policy positions, it’s not clear what issues or changes Manning would champion on behalf of the people of Maryland if elected.
Manning’s main claim to fame is her conviction on 27 charges, including violations under the Espionage Act, after sending more than 700,000 classified documents to WikiLeaks in 2010. She has insisted her actions were a patriotic act of public service.
Manning was sentenced to 35 years in prison for the leaks, but served only 7 years before having her sentence commuted by President Barack Obama just days before Donald Trump’s inauguration.
Obama endured heavy criticism for selectively pardoning the former Specialist, who is responsible for the largest classified leak in national history. Donald Trump later tweeted that she should never have been released from prison, and labeled her a traitor.
Manning — who was a male called “Bradley Manning” at the time of her conviction — gained further notoriety in 2013 after announcing she identified as a woman. The declaration came shortly after her placement into an all-male federal prison.
Manning petitioned prison officials for medical treatment to complete her transgender transition and twice attempted suicide after being denied hormones and surgical treatment. She has since completed her transition and lives as a trans woman.
In 2017, Manning was invited to assume a position at Harvard’s JFK School of Government as a visiting Fellow. The invitation was later withdrawn after many inside and beyond the Harvard community objected to her selection.