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Chelsea Manning plans to run for US Senate in Maryland

Steven Senne/Associated Press/File
Chelsea Manning spoke in Nantucket in September.

WASHINGTON — Chelsea Manning, the former Army private convicted of disclosing classified information, has filed to run for Senate in Maryland, according to federal election filings.

Manning, who was found guilty of leaking more than 700,000 government files to WikiLeaks in 2013, would face Sen. Benjamin L. Cardin in the Democratic primary race this year. Cardin is Maryland’s senior senator and the top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

In 2012, the senator cruised to victory in the general election after winning the Democratic primary race with nearly 75 percent of the vote.

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Manning, a transgender woman formerly known as Bradley Manning, received a 35-year prison term for disseminating a vast trove of government documents that included incident reports from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and dossiers on detainees being imprisoned without trial at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba.

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The sentence was the longest ever imposed in a leak case. President Barack Obama commuted it in the final days of his presidency, calling it “very disproportionate.”

While Manning, who declined to comment about her election filing, has been hailed as a hero by opponents of government secrecy, others, including President Donald Trump, have called her a traitor to the United States. Since her release, Manning, 30, has written about free speech, civil liberties, queer and transgender rights, and computer security for publications like The Guardian.

Manning moved to Maryland after leaving the military prison and filed documents with the Federal Election Commission as a Democrat, with paperwork formally processed Thursday.

Last year, her invitation to be a visiting fellow at Harvard was revoked after officials there faced a severe backlash and grew concerned over what could be viewed as an endorsement of her actions.