In a five-word Twitter statement on Sunday, Chelsea Manning formally announced her intention to run for a Senate seat in Maryland. Manning’s candidacy was the subject of much speculation on Saturday when a Federal Election Commission filing in her name surfaced.
The tweet included her brief confirmation, a handful of emojis, the #WeGotThis hashtag that appears frequently in Manning’s timeline, and a YouTube link to her first campaign ad.
The ad doesn’t lay out any policy positions. It’s more of an emotional appeal, drawing on words and imagery that will resonate with the segment of the U.S. population that’s been bristling under a Donald Trump presidency for the past year.
Although Manning has a Democratic primary to get through before she can make a bid for the Senate, her ad is an appeal to the anti-Trump community. Just look at the script she read from.
We live in trying times.
Times of Fear—
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.
We need to fix this.
We don’t need them anymore.
We can do better.
You’re damn right #WeGotThis
Manning is up against a difficult primary challenge in Maryland. She’ll be running against an incumbent in Ben Cardin, a popular Democrat and the state’s senior Senator. He’s considered a favorite to hold his seat in the 2018 election for a third six-year term.
Running in Maryland also means that Manning counts a large segment of the U.S. intelligence community — the National Security Agency is headquartered there — among her would-be constituents. She might have trouble convincing them to vote for her, given the materials she leaked that landed her in prison.
Cardin’s spokesperson, Sue Walitsky, expressed excitement for the looming primary challenge in a statement provided to The Washington Post. Notably, the statement doesn’t mention Manning by name.
“Senator Cardin is looking forward to a vigorous debate of the issues and a robust conversation with Maryland voters.”
It’s still early in the process and Manning has a number of procedural hurdles to overcome, such as filing for the primary with the state elections board by Feb. 26, but it’s clear now that she does intend to run.
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