Michigan officials allow “Little House on the Prairie” star Gilbert to exit House race

Michigan officials have declined state Republicans’ request to review a decision to allow “Little House on the Prairie” actress Melissa Gilbert to withdraw as the Democratic nominee in an upcoming House race, due to health issues.

State GOP lawyers argued Michigan’s Board of Canvassers, not State Election Director Chris Thomas, should decide whether Gilbert can end her 8th Congressional District challenge to freshman GOP Rep. Mike Bishop.

Citing state law, Thomas recently told Michigan Democrats that a nominee can withdraw after winning a primary and that the party could replace Gilbert with assistant Macomb County prosecutor Suzanna Shkreli after the Aug. 2 primary results are certified in the coming days.

GOP state party lawyers, however, also argued that Gilbert -- who had surgery earlier this month for past neck and back injuries -- has not “adequately proved that she would be physically unfit to serve in Congress.”

Gilbert announced her plans in May to withdraw but remained as the lone Democrat in the August primary because the filing deadline had expired.

The Detroit Free Press and The Associated Press contributed to this story.