GOP Uses Melissa Gilbert’s Tax Troubles Against Her in Michigan Congressional Race

Melissa Gilbert

--Image Credit: Associated Press

From a log cabin somewhere in the woods of Michigan’s 8th Congressional District, Melissa Gilbert is plotting her campaign to unseat freshman Republican Congressman Mike Bishop.

According to a statement on her website, Gilbert’s campaign is going to be all about helping people like herself -- people who are still trying to get their heads above water after Michigan’s economic collapse in the first decade of the 21st century.

“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 a statement on her website.

“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.”

Coincidentally or not, her opponent in November, assuming she survives a primary battle if there is one, will be one of the politicians who was at the helm of Michigan during what Time magazine dubbed a “Decade from Hell.”

Bishop served first in the Michigan House of Representatives from 1999-2003 and then in the Michigan Senate until 2010, where he served as majority leader and had some epic battles with Gov. Jennifer Granholm (D).

Michigan’s auto industry collapsed during those years, Detroit disintegrated, and the state’s unemployment rate was nearly twice as high as the national average.

Bishop’s campaign manager was quick to lay out his strategy against Gilbert, who is best known for her childhood role as Laura on the TV show Little House on the Prairie.

Stu Sandler didn’t hesitate to label Gilbert an “IRS Tax Cheat” minutes after her campaign website went live.

“Hollywood Actress and IRS Tax Cheat Melissa Gilbert owes hundreds of thousands to the IRS and wants to get a government paycheck,” Sandler said in a statement released by the Bishop campaign. “Melissa Gilbert can afford to have a stylist for her dog, but cannot pay her taxes. Her values are out of whack with the district.”

The Michigan GOP was even more forceful in its email sent out after Gilbert announced her intention to run as a Democrat against Bishop.