A transgender former Army private has filed to run for the U.S. Senate in Maryland, according to federal election filings.
Chelsea Manning will be challenging Democrat Ben Cardin, who will be up for re-election in November for a third term in the Senate, according to The Washington Post.
Manning, who was born a man but now identifies as a female, said he might release a statement next week, but declined to speak about why he is running.
“Our only statement on the record is, ‘No statement,'” Manning said.
His candidacy file says Manning is running as a Democrat, and the Democrat primary is scheduled for the end of June.
The Post reported that even though Cardin is not considered to be vulnerable to a challenge for his Senate seat, the outside candidate could entice donors who are interested in a progressive political agenda.
Chelsea Manning, formerly known as Bradley, was convicted of leaking classified U.S. documents to Wikileaks in 2013 and was sentenced to 35 years in prison.
Former President Barack Obama commuted Manning’s sentence to time served and he was released from military prison last year.
After his release, Manning moved to Maryland and has written for The Guardian and Medium about a variety of topics including transparency, free speech and transgender rights, according to The Post.
Campaign director for Fight for the Future Evan Greer remarked on Manning’s candidacy in an email.
“Chelsea Manning has fought for freedom and sacrificed for it in ways that few others have,” he wrote. ‘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.”
A political science professor at St. Mary’s College Todd Elberly was not surprised by Manning’s filing, according to The Post.
“My initial thought quite literally was, ‘Donald Trump is president, Oprah Winfrey is the leading contender for Democrats in 2020, why the h— not Chelsea Manning in the U.S. Senate?”
Many Twitter users reacted to the news.
Manning’s conviction for sharing classified information does not keep him from running for office. Senators are only required to be 30 years old, U.S. citizens and residents of the state in which they are seeking office.
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