Chelsea Manning leaking support in uphill Senate race against Cardin

Famed leaker Chelsea Manning attracted national news coverage in announcing plans earlier this year to challenge longtime Maryland Sen. Ben Cardin from the left in the Democratic primary.

But despite all the media attention and excitement from liberal activists, the former Army intelligence analyst previously known as Bradley Manning -- who was convicted of leaking classified documents before transitioning to a woman and later winning a commutation from then-President Barack Obama -- has struggled to make a significant mark on the race.

The Baltimore Sun, the largest newspaper in Maryland, reported last week that it’s not clear if Manning is even campaigning anymore ahead of Tuesday’s vote. The paper said Manning’s campaign hasn’t responded to requests for comment “for weeks.” 

Manning’s campaign did not return a request for comment Monday from Fox News, either. 

According to Federal Election Commission records, Manning has reported raising a paltry $76,355 from campaign donors.

And on Twitter, Manning seems resigned to losing, tweeting in recent weeks “we can’t expect any change thru the upcoming elections - the primaries are rigged” and “voting won’t change anything.” (Manning's Twitter description doesn't even reference the Senate campaign.)

But Manning’s fading campaign follows an alarming episode in May where she posted a pair of tweets hinting that the candidate was contemplating suicide, including a photo of feet standing on the ledge of a high-rise building.


"I'm sorry - I tried - I'm sorry I let you all down," Manning wrote in one of the now-deleted tweets. "I’m not really cut out for this world - I tried adapting to this world out here but I failed you.”

Shortly after the tweets, Manning’s Twitter handle reported that she was safe and on the phone with friends. “Thanks everyone for your concern and please give her some space,” the tweet read.

Manning, then known as Bradley Manning, was arrested in 2010 and convicted in 2013 of leaking a trove of sensitive documents to WikiLeaks. Manning’s sentence was controversially commuted by Obama in 2017 after Manning had served seven years of a 35-year sentence.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., flanked by Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Md., left, and Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., the ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, talk to reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, June 12, 2018. Republican and Democratic leaders aren't quite celebrating President Donald Trump's historic meeting Tuesday with North Korea's Kim Jong Un, saying the initial agreement they struck won't mean much unless the North completely denuclearizes. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Maryland Democratic Sen. Ben Cardin, 74, was first elected to Congress in 1987 and is seen to be in a commanding position to not only win the primary but also re-election.  (AP)

Since leaving prison, Manning has become known for provocative tweets and liberal policy positions, often accompanied with a series of emojis and the hashtag #WeGotThis. Manning once tweeted out the message “f--- the police” on Law Enforcement Appreciation Day, along with the hashtag #DisarmThePolice.

Manning has also referred to Immigration and Customs Enforcement as “literally the new gestapo,” and has called for the elimination of the agency that enforces immigration laws.

Cardin, 74, was first elected to Congress in 1987 and is seen to be in a commanding position to not only win the primary but also re-election. The crowded Democratic gubernatorial primary in Maryland to take on GOP Gov. Larry Hogan is viewed as the more competitive contest on Tuesday.

Other races are being held across the country on Tuesday including in New York, Colorado, Maryland, Oklahoma, Utah, Mississippi and South Carolina.

Closely watched contests include former Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s GOP primary campaign for Senate in Utah, as well as South Carolina’s gubernatorial runoff between incumbent Gov. Henry McMaster and businessman John Warren, with President Trump stumping for McMaster Monday evening.

Fox News’ Adam Shaw and Lukas Mikelionis contributed to this report.

Alex Pappas is a politics reporter at Follow him on Twitter at @AlexPappas.