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Chelsea Manning files paperwork to run for U.S. Senate seat in Maryland

Chelsea Manning filed paperwork to run for the Senate this week, but has yet to officially announce a campaign. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Just one year ago, Chelsea Manning, the infamous transgender Army private, was sitting in a maximum security prison. Now, Manning has declared her intentions to run for Congress.

What happened?

Manning, who was convicted for stealing highly classified government documents and leaking them to WikiLeaks, has declared her intention to run for the Senate. She will run as a Democrat.

According to records filed with the Federal Election Commission, Manning filed the necessary paperwork on Thursday, the Washington Post reported. She is running for the Maryland seat currently held by Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.), who has yet to announce a re-election bid.

The Democratic primary is scheduled for the end of June, and if he decides to run for re-election, the 74-year-old Cardin would be the overwhelming favorite. Manning is one of four who have declared their candidacy for the seat.

Manning moved to Maryland following her release from prison and is a very outspoken progressive liberal.

What did Manning say?

Manning has yet to formally announce her campaign. However, when reached by the Post for comment, the convicted felon said: "Our only statement on the record is, ‘No statement.'"

Manning said she might release a statement next week.

Is Manning eligible to run for the Senate?

Despite her felony convictions, Manning is eligible to run for the Senate, Newsweek explains:

The Constitution does allow U.S citizens who have a criminal record to run for Congress, but state laws can be different. The only qualifications to run for U.S Senate in Maryland is to be at least 30-years-old, to have citizenship in the U.S for at least nine years, and live in the state at the time of the election. It does not state on their website that anyone who has a criminal record cannot run for U.S. Senate.

Manning was convicted of 21 crimes in 2013 after she leaked more than 700,000 classified government documents. Former President Barack Obama commuted her sentence to time served just before leaving office last January and she was released in May 2017.

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