Melissa Gilbert Drops Out of Congress Race Due to Spinal Injury

Melissa Gilbert
Gilbert Steve Mack/FilmMagic

Sitting this one out. Melissa Gilbert is no longer running for Congress in Michigan due to health concerns, the Detroit Free Press reports.

The Little House on the Prairie alum, 52, made the announcement on Tuesday, May 24. She revealed that injuries to her head and neck that she sustained in accidents in 2012 have forced her to drop out.

As previously reported, Gilbert got a concussion after suffering whiplash while performing on Dancing With the Stars in April 2012. Months later, she got injured when a balcony of a house she was renting collapsed on her. She's been dealing with spinal issues ever since.

"While I have received the best treatment and therapy I could have asked for, those injuries have only gotten worse," Gilbert said in a statement. "As much as it breaks my heart to say this, my doctors have told me I am physically unable to continue my run for Congress."

The former child star decided to run as a Democrat in August 2015. "I'm running for Congress to make life a little easier for all the families who feel they have fallen through the cracks in today's economy," she wrote on her website at the time. "I believe building a new economy is a team effort and we need to bring fresh voices to the table to get the job done."

The California native — who now lives in Michigan's Livingston County with husband Timothy Busfield — had a lot of plans in store for Michigan. On her website, she promised voters that she would "fight to increase incomes for working families, ensure that companies provide paid sick and family leave to their workers, make sure every child has access to state-of-the art education, and ensure women receive equal pay for equal work." (Gilbert was previously president of the Screen Actors Guild for four years. In 2005, she said that she would not be seeking a third term.)

Gilbert's decision now gives Republican Rep. Mike Bishop a better shot at winning a second term. According to the Detroit Free Press, another Democrat can replace her on the ballot. "I wish her the best and hope her health improves," Bishop, 49, said in a statement on Tuesday. "I plan on continuing my campaign and talking to voters about solutions to help this country move forward."

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