By Ethan Colbert
The Republican Party’s candidate for Pike County Clerk is Michelle Jaeger, of Louisiana.
Jaeger takes the place of Bowling Green resident Allen Chandler, who withdrew his name from the ballot last month. Now, Jaeger will face incumbent county clerk Melissa Kempke, a Democrat.
Kempke has been the county clerk since 2012.
While the ballot for the November General Election had been sent to the printers, the county will be able to add Jaeger’s name at no cost to the county or to the candidate or political party involved, Kempke said on Friday. Kempke spoke to the Times as the county’s chief elections official, not as a candidate.
“We are in the proofing stage of the ballot process,” Kempke said. “So we are still able to make changes.”
In an interview on Friday, Jaeger described herself as a “BONCL kid” who went on to graduate from Louisiana High School. During her education at Louisiana, Jaeger said she developed a love of numbers, a love that she has carried with her during her brief stint as a student at the University of Missouri in Columbia and later as an employee in the finance department a the North East Community Action Corporation, where she has worked since 1994.
“I’ve done everything, really all of the things that this job entails,” Jaeger said. “What I have done over there, I can do over here.”
According to Jaeger, among her job duties at NECAC are: budgeting, payroll, benefits administrator, and accounts payable.
She later acknowledged that she does not have any experience organizing or preparing for elections, which as outlined by the Missouri State Statute is one of the primary tasks of the county clerk’s position.
“I have no experience with elections,” Jaeger said. “I will have to lean on or towards the staff for their experience to get me through.”
In her interview, Jaeger said she has been interested in getting into politics for several years, and heavily considered running for the county clerk’s position a few years ago.
When she heard that Chandler had withdrew his name, she said she felt it was “my chance.”
“I think I can do some good for this county and this is my chance,” Jaeger said. “I think there are some things that I can do that would make this office work better.”
When asked to be more specific, she declined, saying instead that she wanted to quiet “the rumblings that you hear, that everybody has heard about this office.”
She later added that she did not believe there had been any misconduct or improper behavior by either the current county clerk or the staff in the office.
With less than 62 days until the November General Election, Jaeger said she will be relying on her friends to help get her name and her credentials before Pike County voters.
“Starting tomorrow (Saturday, Sept. 1) we will be going forward,” Jaeger said.