July 27 2016 01:20 PM

Gilbert on ballot despite exiting race

Actress Melissa Gilbert vowed in May that she was quitting her congressional bid to unseat U.S. Rep. Mike Bishop, R-Rochester, due to health reasons and local Democrats have Macomb County assistant prosecutor Suzanna Shkreli of Clarkston in line to replace her.

Left: Gilbert Right: Shkreli

But Gilbert's name will appear before voters on Tuesday as the only Democrat in the race because she didn't withdraw in time to legally get her name off the ballot. Likewise, since Shkreli didn't file for office in time, her name won't appear on the Aug. 2 ballot.

What will happen is this:

In order to pass the baton from Gilbert to Shkreli, Gilbert must file paperwork with the secretary of state to remove her name from the November General Election ballot. She must show that she has moved out of state or is physically unfit to serve, an untested standard in Michigan.

Gilbert apparently has chronic back, neck and head pain, but does that make her "unfit to serve"? What is the standard on that? Democrats behind the scenes are urging Gilbert to switch her primary residence to another state to eliminate any subjective determination. But what she plans to do hasn't been announced.

If Gilbert successfully exits the General Election ballot, Democratic Party officials in Ingham, Livingston and Oakland counties will name Shkreli, 29, to take her spot.

Shkreli is a first-generation American and daughter of Albanian immigrants. In Macomb County, she has worked in the criminal division, working on homicide, drug crimes, assaults and domestic violence for four years.

She is on leave from the office. Most recently, she was in the Child Protection Unit in Macomb County, where she said she prosecuted crimes against children involving physical and sexual abuse.

Unlike Lance Enderle in 2010 when Democrat Kande Ngalamulume dropped out of the 8th Congressional race after the filing deadline, Shkreli isn't bothering with a write-in campaign during the primary.

Voters are free to write in Shkreli's name if they like, but Enderle managed less than 10 percent of the primary vote trying to beat a name on the ballot so running a write-in campaign for the primary for Shkreli is viewed a fruitless exercise.