Chelsea Manning, a former U.S. Army intelligence analyst convicted of leaking a trove of classified information to WikiLeaks in 2010, has filed for candidacy in the U.S. Senate race in Maryland, according to online Federal Election Commission records.
Manning, a controversial figure who is seen by some as a hero to the U.S. and as an enemy by others, served seven years of a 35-year sentence in a military prison before being granted clemency by then-President Barack Obama as one of his final acts before the end of his term in January 2017.
Conservative blog Red Maryland first reported on the FEC filing.
According to FEC online records, Manning filed candidacy paperwork on Jan. 11 at 3:02 p.m. under the committee name, “Chelsea Manning for U.S. Senate.”
She was previously known as Bradley Manning before undergoing hormone replacement therapy.
The Sentinel could not immediately confirm the FEC filing over the weekend.
Sen. Ben Cardin did not immediately respond to a comment request about the possibility of a Democratic rival in the June 26 primary election.
Maryland Democratic Party Chair Kathleen Matthews did not immediately return a comment request.
Montgomery County Democratic Party Chairman Dave Kunes said he was unaware of Manning’s apparent entry into the race, but he wishes all candidates the best of luck.
Kunes said he is endorsing Cardin in a personal capacity in the 2018 election. He also noted that the Maryland Democratic Party does not get involved with or officially endorse candidates in primary elections.
Neal Simon, a registered unaffiliated voter, who has launched an exploratory bid for the U.S. Senate said he believes Maryland voters want something different, but he’s not sure Manning would be their choice.
“I believe she was convicted as a felon for revealing state secrets, and I’m not sure voters will view that as an appropriate background to run for U.S. Senate,” Simon said. “I’ve been having dozens of conversations around the state. People are telling me that they want the country to come together and that they are tired of the partisanship. People want something other than party-line Republicans and party-line Democrats.”
There is no public telephone information listing for Manning, who according to FEC records, resides in North Bethesda.
This story will be updated.