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Manning files for US Senate bid in Maryland

Manning files for US Senate bid in Maryland

January 14th, 2018 in National News

RETRANSMISSION TO CORRECT RANK TO INTELLIGENCE ANALYST - FILE - In this Sunday, Sept. 17, 2017 file photo, Chelsea Manning speaks during the Nantucket Project's annual gathering in Nantucket, Mass. On Thursday, Jan. 11, 2018, Manning, the transgender former Army intelligence analyst who was convicted of leaking classified documents, filed her statement of candidacy with the Federal Election Commission to run for the U.S. Senate in Maryland. She will challenge Democrat Ben Cardin who has served two terms. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

NORTH BETHESDA, Md. (AP) — Chelsea Manning intends to run for the U.S. Senate in Maryland, returning the transgender former soldier to the spotlight after her conviction for leaking classified documents and her early release from military prison.

Manning, 30, filed her statement of candidacy with the Federal Election Commission on Thursday, listing an apartment in North Bethesda as her address.

She is running as a Democrat and will likely challenge two-term Sen. Ben Cardin in the primary. The state's senior senator is an overwhelming favorite to win.

Known as Bradley Manning at the time of her 2010 arrest, the former Army intelligence analyst was convicted of leaking more than 700,000 military and State Department documents to the anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks. She's been hailed as a traitor, as well as a courageous hero.

Manning came out as transgender after being sentenced to 35 years in prison. President Barack Obama granted Manning clemency before leaving office last year.

The conservative media organization Red Maryland first reported Manning's intention to run. The Associated Press was unsuccessful in reaching Manning for comment.

A spokeswoman for Cardin, Sue Walitsky, did not immediately return a phone call. Nor did Fabion Seaton, a spokesman for the Maryland Democratic Party.

Manning would not be the first transgender candidate to challenge a sitting member of Congress.

Kristin Beck, a retired Navy SEAL who is transgender, failed to unseat U.S. Rep. Steny Hoyer in Maryland's Democratic Primary in 2016. Beck got 12 percent of the vote.

"It was too much for me to run for Congress," Beck said in a phone interview Saturday. "I should have run for something lower. She might as well be running for president."

Beck said Manning is pulling a "publicity stunt."

"I totally, 100 percent disagree with everything she did," Beck said. "She's just grabbing headlines. I know what that feels like. I've been in the headlines. You get a sense that you're worthy and doing something that counts. And when you lose that, you try to do something to grab a headline."

Manning was held at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, where she attempted suicide twice, according to her lawyers.

Obama's decision to commute Manning's sentence to about seven years drew strong criticism from members of Congress and others, with Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan calling the move "just outrageous."

When Manning was released in May, she told the AP in an email she was eager to define her future — but made no mention of politics.

"I'm figuring things out right now — which is exciting, awkward, fun, and all new for me," Manning wrote.

She added: "I am looking forward to so much! Whatever is ahead of me is far more important than the past."

The Oklahoma native had planned to move to Maryland, where she has an aunt. She has been registered to vote at the apartment in North Bethesda since mid-August, according to the Maryland Board of Elections.