Melissa Gilbert Drops Out of Michigan Congressional Race in Blow to Democrats

Melissa Gilbert
Melissa Gilbert / AP

Actress Melissa Gilbert ended her congressional bid in Michigan Tuesday evening, handing victory to Republican incumbent Rep. Mike Bishop.

Gilbert was the sole Democratic challenger to Bishop. She withdrew from the race after Michigan’s filing deadline, essentially ensuring that Republicans will maintain control over the 8th District.

Gilbert, who gained fame for her role in Little House on the Prairie, said health problems were driving her out of the race.

She told People Wednesday morning that doctors ordered her to undergo surgery due to a spinal injury sustained from two separate accidents in 2012.

"My doctors said there's no way for me to continue to deal with the incredibly rigorous demands of a congressional campaign without continuing to do harm to my body," Gilbert said. "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."

Bishop said in a statement that he wishes her the best.

The NRCC said Tuesday evening that Gilbert’s abrupt announcement reflects "mass incompetence emanating from DCCC headquarters."

"After this latest high-profile embarrassment, hopefully, the DCCC will do us all a favor and stop pretending they have even the slightest chance of winning control of the House this November."