Just five days after 8th District Congressman Mike Bishop was added to the National Republican Congressional Committee’s “Patriot Program” for their most vulnerable incumbents (joining Tim Walberg in MI-07 and Dan Benishek in MI-01), Bishop has picked up a major opponent. Democrat Melissa Gilbert, who moved to Michigan two years ago, threw her hat into the ring this afternoon.
Yes, THAT, Melissa Gilbert. The actress who played Laura Ingalls in the beloved television series Little House on the Prairie and who was the youngest actor to be given a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. In addition to her acting career, Gilbert was also the president of the Screen Actors Guild.
“Here in Michigan, I know people are doing their best to make a good life for themselves and their families. When it comes down to it, I think that’s what we all really want” Gilbert said in her announcement release. “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. 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.”
Gilbert’s name recognition coupled with Bishop’s sagging popularity and tepid fundraising make her a strong candidate. She’s very well-known and liked as a local celebrity in Livingston County where she lives, particularly in the Howell/Brighton area.
This is a race to watch and it’s a race the Democrats haven’t had a big name candidate in for many years. Stay tuned.