‘Little House on the Prairie’ Star Melissa Gilbert Could Run For Congress Again After Dropping Out in 2016

She wouldn’t be the first celebrity to launch a political career after making it big in Hollywood.

Little House on the Prairie star Melissa Gilbert added her name to the ballot for U.S. Congress during the 2016 election cycle but then dropped out of the race for personal reasons.

But Gilbert’s fans haven’t necessarily seen the last of her political aspirations yet. There’s a good chance the actor known as “Half-pint” from the show could run for Congress or another role in the political sphere again in the future.

Melissa Gilbert got famous playing Laura Ingalls Wilder on ‘Little House on the Prairie’

Melissa Gilbert
Melissa Gilbert | NBC Television/Courtesy of Getty Images

Gilbert was born in Los Angeles and became a child star after appearing in multiple television commercials. However, her breakout role came courtesy of the 1974 drama series, Little House on the Prairie, which was based on the novels by the same name. Gilbert beat out 500 other actors and secured the lead as Laura Ingalls Wilder, according to biography.com.  

Post-Little House on the Prairie, Gilbert signed on for several TV appearances, including a stint on Dancing with the Stars in 2012. But then she made an abrupt career change by switching from acting to politics in 2016.

She ran for a seat in Michigan’s 8th Congressional District in 2016

Melissa Gilbert
Melissa Gilbert | Monica Schipper/Getty Images

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Gilbert announced her campaign for a seat in Congress in 2015, banking on her national name recognition and commitment to social issues she found important. Plus, she served as the president of the Screen Actors Guild beginning in 2001. Gilbert hoped to translate that experience into a successful political career.

The Little House on the Prairie alum became the presumptive Democratic nominee until she had to drop out of the race due to medical issues. “My doctors said there’s no way for me to continue to deal with the incredibly rigorous demands of a congressional campaign without continuing to do harm to my body,” Gilbert said, according to ABC News.

The injuries she referred to were two herniated discs in her spine. “I have numbness in my right hand, shooting pains in my right arm and numbness in my neck,” she said. “So, after years of care, my neurologists are sending me to a neurosurgeon because I need to have another spinal surgery.”

Melissa Gilbert could run for political office in the future

Melissa Gilbert
Melissa Gilbert | Monica Schipper/Getty Images

Though her decision was inevitable and the best choice for her health, Gilbert was disappointed to give up her political aspirations. But that doesn’t mean she will never run for office again. In fact, the actor strongly alluded that she had plans of doing just that.

“It’s indescribable to have to make this decision, because I had my sights set on my opponent and a lot of people around me felt that I could win,” Gilbert said of dropping out.

However, she left the door open for the future.

“I’m too engaged at this point. I know too much, and there is so much that needs to be done in this district and this state and this country,” she continued, ABC News reported. “That’s why I jumped into the race in the first place.”

We might see Gilbert as a congressional seat holder after all.