Chelsea Manning is running for Senate

Chelsea Manning speaks during the Nantucket Project's annual gathering in Nantucket

News that Chelsea Manning, the transgender former Army private first convicted of collaborating with Wikileaks, is filing to run for a Democratic seat in the US Senate, has outright set Twitter ablaze, with many seeing it as a vivid illustration of what the "blue party" now looks like.

Manning's statement of candidacy was filed with the Federal Elections Commission on Thursday. She will run as a Democrat.

Despite the gravity of her convictions, her criminal history will not legally stop Manning from running for senator. Cardin has an approval rate of 50 percent, according to the latest figures cited by the Baltimore Sun, and will face Manning and three other candidates in the upcoming primary.

Manning declined to speak about her filing or to say why she might be running when reached at her home in Bethesda on Saturday.

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Ms Manning, known as Bradley Manning at the time of the arrest, had been working as an intelligence analyst in Iraq.

Reports said Ms Manning moved to Maryland after her release and friends and family raised more than $175,000 to support her through an online campaign.

Cardin was easily re-elected in 2012, beating his Republican challenger by 30 points in the heavily-Democratic state. In September, a profile of Manning in Vogue magazine ran alongside a picture of her in a swimsuit, taken by famed photographer Annie Leibovitz.

US President Donald Trump has labeled Manning a traitor.

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The document said Manning had committed a crime outside the country that "would equate to an indictable offense, namely treason" in Canada and which carries a maximum sentence of 14 years imprisonment.

Three years later, Manning was convicted of multiple counts, including violating the Espionage Act, and received a lengthy sentence.

Her case remains politically divisive. The state's senior senator is an overwhelming favourite to win.

Her actions made Manning a hero to anti-war and anti-secrecy activists but United States establishment figures branded her a traitor.

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Information for this article was contributed by Katherine Shaver of The Washington Post.

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