Tags: melissa gilbert | little house on the prairie | congress | health | surgery

Melissa Gilbert of 'Little House' Fame Drops Congress Bid Over Ailment

Image: Melissa Gilbert of 'Little House' Fame Drops Congress Bid Over Ailment
Actress Melissa Gilbert attends the premiere of Warner Brothers' 'Born to be Wild' at the California Science Center on April 3, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. (Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)

By    |   Thursday, 26 May 2016 09:41 AM

Actress Melissa Gilbert, star of "Little House on the Prairie," withdrew from the congressional race for Michigan's 8th district because of ongoing health issues related to past injuries.

"It's indescribable to have to make this decision because I had my sights set on my opponent and a lot of people around me felt that I could win," Gilbert, who was running as a Democrat, told People magazine.

Facing numbness in her right hand and neck, as well as shooting pains in her right arm, doctors advised the actress that continuing her run would be harmful and advised her to undergo spinal surgery. The TV star suffered head and neck injuries after a fall on "Dancing with the Stars" and also when the balcony of a house she was renting collapsed over her head.

Recovery from the yet unscheduled surgery will take at least three months, putting an end to her bid for Congress.

But the former Screen Actors Guild president won't rule out a future political run. Gilbert's campaign drew attention and financial support from actors including Alec Baldwin, Kiefer Sutherland, and Jennifer Garner.

State elections director Chris Thomas said the state Democratic Party could put together a committee to name a replacement, the Detroit Free Press reported.

Gilbert was challenging U.S. Rep. Mike Bishop, a Republican representing Rochester.

“Make no mistake, this district is still a top target for us,” State Party Chairman Brandon Dillon said, according to The Detroit News. “Career politician Mike Bishop continues to put special interests in front of the needs of his constituents, uses taxpayer money to line the pockets of his donors, and supports trade policies that would ship even more Michigan auto jobs overseas.”

Bishop's campaign criticized Gilbert for a $470,000 tax bill, which she agreed to pay off in installments by 2024, and comments she made in 2009 and later recanted calling efforts to extradite Roman Polanski in a child sex case “excessive,” The Free Press said.

"The Democrats probably weren't going to win this seat anyway," political consultant Joe Munem told WDIV-TV. "It's a seat that's been drawn for the Republicans. So, the likelihood of her winning was ... it would have required a lot of work."

Twitter users shared mixed reactions to Gilbert's withdrawal.






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Actress Melissa Gilbert, star of "Little House on the Prairie," withdrew from the congressional race for Michigan's 8th district because of ongoing health issues related to past injuries.
melissa gilbert, little house on the prairie, congress, health, surgery
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2016-41-26
Thursday, 26 May 2016 09:41 AM
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