Chelsea Manning has confirmed that she is running for a US Senate seat and released her first campaign video on Twitter on Sunday, 14 January. The former US soldier-turned-WikiLeaks whistleblower filed her documents to run in the June primaries, and according to federal election filings, will stand as a Democratic Party candidate.
Manning, 30, will challenge two-term Senator Ben Cardin, a favourite in the blue state, and despite her criminal record, will be allowed to run since Maryland does not restrict former convicts from entering the race.
The former military intelligence analyst confirmed the same on Sunday with the Twitter video to announce her campaign slogan #WeGotThis, a hashtag that came to be known as her signature on social media.
"We live in trying times. Times of fear, of suppression, of hate," Manning says in a voiceover as footage plays of riot police assailing protesters and alt-right groups making the Nazi salute. "We don't need more or better leaders, we need someone willing to fight.
"We need to stop asking them to give us our rights. They won't support us... they won't compromise. We need to stop expecting that our systems will somehow fix themselves. We need to actually take the reins of power from them... we need to challenge them at every level," she continues as clips of Donald Trump in the Oval office and images of Capitol Hill take up the screen.
"We need to fix this," she concludes. "You're damn right we got this."
Manning's decision to run for one of the most coveted political positions comes eight months after she was released from prison after former president Barack Obama commuted her sentence from 35 year to seven years. Since then, she has become a face for the transgender movement and a voice for the new age of politically-conscious young adults.
"Chelsea Manning has fought for freedom and sacrificed for it in ways that few others have," Manning supporter Evan Greer, the founder of non-profit organisation Fight for the Future, told The Washington Post. "The world is a better place with her as a free woman, and this latest news makes it clear she is only beginning to make her mark on it."