Michigan Democrats seek candidate for Congressional 8th District

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LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – Democrats hoping to beat current Republican Congressman Mike Bishop were met with another roadblock today.

“Had a lot of work on our hands in terms of canvassing these petitions in preparation for this meeting and processing the challenges that came through.”

A run for office requires 1,000 valid signatures. Actress Melissa Gilbert met that requirement, but her democratic opponent Linda Keefe was faced with trouble.

A review by the board of canvassers confirmed 904 valid signatures, 96 short of what is required.

“I would ask that you move to uh, to reject the staff determination of insufficient petitions,” Keefe said.

Today, Keefe hoped the board would rule in her favor, trying to make the point that “because the candidate, Melissa Gilbert withdrew due to medical reasons that the democrats no longer had a candidate.”

However, officials say it doesn’t matter that Gilbert dropped out. Keefe still does not have enough signatures.

For now, however, Gilbert is on the ballot for the August 2 primary.

“We really look at this as a post-primary issue,” Director of Elections Chris Thomas said. “There’s no way to get off the ballot unless one dies.”

Thomas says if it’s found that Gilbert is physically unfit, and she is off the ballot, “there is a process by which the party structure can put another nominee on after the primary,” Thomas said.

A statement released this week from the Michigan Democratic Party reads “Michigan law is clear: since it appears Melissa Gilbert was the only candidate who filed the requisite number of valid signatures required to appear on the ballot, her announcement means that the county Democratic parties will fill the vacancy after she removes herself from the ballot.”

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