Melissa Gilbert, the Los Angeles-born star of “Little House on the Prairire,” is a lifelong Democrat. She briefly ran for Congress in Michigan.

Melissa Gilbert then and recently. Photos via Wikimedia Commons

But Michigan’s Republican Party is fighting tooth and nail to keep Gilbert on the November ballot — despite her dropping out in May amid health issues, including her need for spinal surgery.

Oh, she also apparently owes a lot of back taxes.

As the Detroit Free Press reported last week: “In a letter to Chris Thomas, the state’s elections director, and the state Board of Canvassers, lawyers for the [GOP] said it should be up to the board — not Thomas — to determine if Gilbert can withdraw as the Democratic nominee in Michigan’s 8th Congressional District.

“Thomas sent a letter to Democratic officials this week saying their choice to replace Gilbert with assistant Macomb County prosecutor Suzanna Shkreli could be certified for the November general election ballot after the results of the Aug. 2 primary are certified by the board at its meeting next Monday.”

The strange advocacy of a Democrat confused people, including a spelling-challenged Arizonan, who tweeted to Gilbert: “just found out your a Republican. Man what a disappointment half pint. #unfollowed”

When set straight, the Arizonan apologized.

Mucking up the issue even more is the fact the Gilbert won the August Democratic primary — even without her party’s support.

Michigan Radio’s Jack Lessenberry explained:

“Democrats want [her name] off too. But Republicans want to keep it there. What happened is that a year ago, Democrats were excited because they’d managed to recruit Melissa Gilbert, best known as the star of the TV series Little House on the Prairie, to run for Congress against freshman Republican Mike Bishop in his Lansing-area district. They thought with her star power, he might just be vulnerable.

“Unfortunately, they neglected to notice that Gilbert owed hundreds of thousands in back taxes to the IRS. She also seemed to object to things like showing up in the district and campaigning, or answering questions. Eventually, when it was too late for the state to take her name off the ballot, she announced she has back problems and didn’t want to run after all.”

All clear now?

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