Gilbert said that she is running as a Democrat to unseat freshman Rep. Mike Bishop (R-Mich.), in that state’s 8th district.
“Please join me in my fight for working families,” she tweeted.
On her campaign website, she said, “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.
“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 is a native of California, but moved to Michigan in 2013 with her husband, Timothy Busfield.
Gilbert served as SAG president from 2001 to 2005. She’ll join a line of guild leaders who ventured into politics. George Murphy, president from 1944 to 1946, was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1964. Barry Gordon, who led SAG from 1988 to 1995, sought a California congressional seat in 1998, but lost to Republican James Rogan. And the most famous actor-turned-SAG president-turned-politician of all was Ronald Reagan. Reagan served as president of SAG from 1947 to 1952, and from 1959 to 1960.
Another SAG president, John Gavin, who served from 1971 to 1973, was Reagan’s ambassador to Mexico.
It didn’t take too long for Bishop’s campaign to attack Gilbert for owing back taxes, which she has attributed to a “perfect storm of financial difficulty.”
Stu Sandler, a spokesman for Bishop’s campaign, said, “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 district is located in the East Lansing area of the state.
In 2014, Bishop defeated opponent Eric Schertzing by a margin of 55% to 42%.