Chelsea Manning Confirms U.S. Senate Run
Update: Chelsea Manning confirmed her U.S. Senate run on Twitter early Sunday. She also released a campaign video:
Whistleblower Chelsea Manning, never one to hold back her criticisms of the government, has filed papers to run for the U.S. Senate in Maryland. The Guardian reported Saturday that Manning intends to run as a Democrat in the November elections, pitting her against senior Democrat Ben Cardin.
Manning has yet to comment on the news, although numerous pundits were quick to attack her as a potential candidate, particularly in regard to her position on Russia and WikiLeaks. The Intercept’s Glenn Greenwald had this to say:
One of the media’s favorite Russia-obsessed “experts” didn’t even wait an hour before depicting Chelsea Manning’s Senate candidacy as a dastardly Kremlin plot. Also, the second tweet here is full of demonstrable, obvious falsehoods about Manning’s motives & WikiLeaks’ role pic.twitter.com/RYBgUBstAM
— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) January 13, 2018
If Manning faces off against Cardin in November, it is likely that Russia and WikiLeaks will continue to remain a key focus of the Senate race. Cardin is a leading voice in the party’s investigation in Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election. Just this week, he appeared on MSNBC to elaborate on “the threat posed by the Russian government.”
“We need a game plan to recognize that Russia is trying to bring down our democratic institutions,” Cardin told MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow. “This problem has been identified by Congress, by the Senate.”
Another source of tension between the two stems from the issue of free speech: Manning is clearly a fan of the right to protest, while Cardin is one of the primary co-sponsors of a 2017 bill that would make it a felony for Americans to support the international protest against Israel.
The Washington Post reports that Manning faces a tough race, labeling Cardin “an overwhelming favorite” and noting that he “is not considered particularly vulnerable to a challenge from within the state.” But it notes that Manning, “an outside candidate with national name recognition,” could potentially “tap a network of donors interested in elevating a progressive agenda.”
Numerous progressives have already begun to cheer the news of Manning’s potential run and are lauding her courage. Manning was sentenced to 35 years in prison for exposing (via WikiLeaks) violent and unethical U.S. war practices in the Middle East, but her sentence was commuted by President Obama in 2017; she had served seven years.