Gilbert seeks medical withdrawal from Congress race

Chad Livengood
Detroit News Lansing Bureau

Actress Melissa Gilbert on Monday formally sought to withdraw as a candidate for Congress from the November general election ballot after her doctors declared her “medically disabled,” according to the Michigan Democratic Party.

Actress Melissa Gilbert on Monday formally sought to withdraw as a candidate for Congress from the November general election ballot after her doctors declared her “medically disabled,” according to the Michigan Democratic Party.

Michigan Democrats nominated Macomb County assistant prosecutor Suzanna Shkreli of Clarkston to be Gilbert’s replacement on the Nov. 8 ballot against incumbent Republican U.S. Rep. Mike Bishop of Rochester.

Gilbert won last Tuesday’s Democratic primary because she was the only Democrat on the ballot. But the one-time “Little House on the Prairie” star abruptly ended her campaign for Congress in May, citing unspecified debilitating health problems.

The Michigan Democratic Party said Gilbert was scheduled to undergo spinal surgery on Monday and that she has been deemed “medically disabled” by an Ann Arbor neurosurgeon.

Michigan Democrats nominated Macomb County assistant prosecutor Suzanna Shkreli of Clarkston to be Gilbert’s replacement on the Nov. 8 ballot.

Gilbert’s withdrawal letter, medical insurance records and a letter from her doctor attesting to her physical inability to campaign for office were submitted Monday to Secretary of State Ruth Johnson’s office.

Aug. 16 is the deadline to change names on the November ballot.

“We expect to have this matter resolved in an expeditious manner,” said Fred Woodhams, spokesman for the Secretary of State’s office.

In July, Democrats recruited Shkreli to run for the 8th Congressional District seat, which includes Ingham, Livingston and parts of northern Oakland County.

Bishop has previously warned a “dangerous precedent” would be set if Gilbert is allowed to get her name removed from the November general election ballot for vague health problems.

clivengood@detroitnews.com

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Twitter: @ChadLivengood