Former Little House on the Prairie actress Melissa Gilbert says she is withdrawing as a candidate for Congress from Michigan.
Gilbert’s notoriety made her a high-profile Democratic candidate in her bid to run against first-term Republican incumbent Mike Bishop in Michigan’s 8th Congressional District, which includes Ingham and Livingston Counties as well as some of Oakland County.
But Gilbert says lingering health issues that will require spinal surgery are forcing her to drop out of the race.
Democratic Party officials say Bishop’s other potential challenger, Linda Keefe, is unlikely to have enough valid petition signatures to be placed on the ballot.
But election law allows the county political parties in the district to choose another candidate, since Gilbert is leaving the race because of illness.
Gilbert, who portrayed Laura Ingalls Wilder in the Little House on the Prairie TV show, tells People Magazine that she is “too engaged at this point” politically and that “there is so much that needs to be done in this district and this state and this country,” that she will not rule out making another bid for public office in the future.