Donna Wesson Smalley, a Democratic candidate for the Alabama Supreme Court, is the sister of a woman who said she had a romantic relationship with failed Senate candidate Roy Moore when she was a teenager and he was in his 30s, her campaign confirmed.
Donna Wesson Smalley and Debbie Wesson Gibson are sisters, growing up in Atalla in Etowah County. Donna Wesson Smalley is currently the Democratic nominee for Place Four on the Alabama Supreme Court, facing Republican nominee Jay Mitchell in November.
Her sister, Debbie Wesson Gibson, is an unaffiliated candidate for the Florida House of Representatives. Gibson, formerly a registered Republican, originally announced her intention to run as a Democrat but abandoned those plans due to state election laws that require a primary candidate to have been a member of the party they seek to represent for at least one year before the qualifying period. Gibson faces the winners of the Aug. 28 Republican and Democratic House primaries in November.
Last year, Gibson was among the women who said she had a relationship with Moore, the Republican nominee for the U.S. Senate seat from Alabama. Gibson said she dated Moore when she was 17 and he was 34 and working as an assistant District Attorney in Etowah County. Their relationship only included consensual kissing, Gibson said, though several women have accused Moore of having improper sexual contact with them when they were teenagers and he was an adult.
Moore, who lost the December Senate election to Democrat Doug Jones, denies the charges.
In a statement provided by her campaign, Smalley said she stands by her sister and her decision to speak out against Moore.
“It is always our duty to stand up against injustice. That is exactly what my sister did when she came forward with her truth about the kind of man that Roy Moore is, and I wholeheartedly stand by her in that decision.
“Separate and apart from that, I am running for Supreme Court Justice because I believe the people of Alabama deserve balance on the bench and the opportunity to elect a candidate with experience and integrity. I have been practicing law for 40 years, so when I was sworn in to the bar, my opponent was two years old.
“The judicial bench is never the place for corruption and political grandstanding. Roy Moore was removed from the Supreme Court not once but twice for ethical violations. The people of Alabama deserve better, and I’m going to be the type of Supreme Court Justice that will always put people over politics. I will serve the citizens, not special interest groups and lobbyists,” she added.
The connection between Smalley and Gibson was referenced this week in a lengthy Facebook post by Kayla Moore, Roy Moore’s wife.
“Why did a woman who never accused my husband of any sexual impropriety, and even handed out campaign literature for him during an earlier campaign for Circuit Judge, join a conspiracy to defeat him in the race for U.S. Senate? Is it because she is now running for the Florida legislature as a “Moore accuser” and her sister is running for a position of Justice on the Alabama Supreme Court? It seems political to me!” Moore wrote.
The post included a banner saying “Expose the Conspiracy” and a link to donate to Moore’s legal fund.