Deborah Gibson, one of a number of women who accused failed Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore of sexual misconduct during last December’s special election, has signaled that she will run for the Florida State Legislature as Democrat.
“There is a Chinese proverb that says ‘Women hold up half the sky.’ Yet women do not hold 50% of the positions in our government,” Gibson said in a statement posted to the crowdfunding site CrowdPac. “Coming off the sidelines for the first time politically seems a natural response to realizing that too many of us, particularly women, have felt that some special mysterious qualification was needed to participate in our democratic process as a candidate.”
Gibson, formerly a registered Republican, also said in the statement that she no longer feels at home in the Republican party.
“The past 5 months have crystallized what’s been coming to me for a decade more gradually—the Republican Party is no longer the right fit for me; I am proudly running as a Democrat,” she said. “I have held numerous leadership positions throughout my life, from president of student clubs to president of professional organizations.”
Gibson was one of eight women who accused Moore of sexual misconduct last year. Gibson told The Washington Post that she dated Moore for two or three months when she was a teenager and he was in his 30s. “As a mother of daughters, I realize that our age difference at that time made our dating inappropriate,” Gibson told the Post. Moore has denied all allegations of misconduct.
Gibson isn’t the only candidate inspired by the #MeToo movement: Rachel Crooks, who accused President Trump of forcibly kissing her in Trump Tower in 2005, is running for office in Ohio.
“I think my voice should have been heard then, and I’ll still fight for it to be heard now,” Crooks told Cosmopolitan last month, referencing the accusation she made during the 2016 election. “Americans are really upset with politics as usual, and I want to be a voice for them.”
Crooks, too, talked about the fact that women are underrepresented in politics when she announced her campaign.
“We’ve been historically underrepresented in politics,” she told Cosmopolitan. But, she added, “Once you hear [that you should run] a few times, you start to believe it a little bit, and fully consider it. Once I sat down and mulled it over, I felt like it really was a duty that I had, that I should take on this responsibility firsthand and try to make a difference for other people.”
Crooks is one of more than a dozen women who have accused Trump of sexual misconduct. She and Gibson also join a record number of women running for office: as of last month, nearly 400 women were planning to run for the House of Representatives, including 22 non-incumbent black women. (There are currently only 18 back women in the House.) Forty-nine women plan to run for Senate seats, a figure 68 percent higher than the number who had announced in January of 2014. A record number of women are running for governor, as well.