Melissa Gilbert, who played Laura Ingalls Wilder on the “Little House On The Prairie” TV show as a child and who launched a congressional bid last year, won’t be working under a big rotunda anytime soon.
On Monday, an election board in Michigan approved the removal of Gilbert’s name from ballots. The actress withdrew from the race in May for health reasons, yet still won the Democratic primary earlier this month because she ran unopposed.
Suzanna Skhreli, a Macomb County prosecutor, has replaced Gilbert in the race.
Republicans in the state contested the election board’s decision, arguing Gilbert hadn’t proved that her ailments would prevent her from taking office. Under a 1929 law, candidates can only withdraw if they move out of state or are “physically unfit” to continue campaigning.
In a letter obtained by the Detroit Free Press, Jason Hanselman and Gary Gordon, lawyers representing the Michigan Republican Party, urged the election board to keep Gilbert on the ballot because she hadn’t “adequately proved that she would be physically unfit to serve in Congress.”
Gilbert experienced a string of accidents in 2012 that now require surgery, she told People Magazine in May after withdrawing from the race. She suffered a concussion during an appearance on “Dancing with the Stars,” and was also hurt when a house’s balcony fell on her head.
“I was standing under the back balcony talking to my kids and it detached from the house and it collapsed on my head,” she recalled. “I have numbness in my right hand, shooting pains in my right arm and numbness in my neck... my neurologists are sending me to a neurosurgeon because I need to have another spinal surgery.”