President Donald Trump has nominated Cape Girardeau County Sheriff John Jordan for a federal marshal post, a move the county clerk said could lead to an election for a new sheriff later this year.

The White House announced the nomination Tuesday. The U.S. Senate must confirm Jordan before he can be appointed by the president.

If confirmed, Jordan would become U.S. marshal for the federal Eastern District of Missouri.

“It is absolutely an honor to be nominated by the president,” Jordan said.

As marshal, Jordan said he would administer the marshal service throughout the eastern half of Missouri, from the Iowa border to the Arkansas line.

Jordan has served as sheriff for 23 years, making him the longest serving sheriff in Cape Girardeau County history, the White House said in its online release.

He began his law enforcement career in 1980 with the Bollinger County Sheriff’s Department, where he served for six years.

He joined the Cape Girardeau County Sheriff’s Department in 1986 and served as deputy investigator, sergeant and lieutenant before being elected sheriff in 1994.

In 2011, he served as president of the Missouri Sheriff’s Association, the White House said.

Jordan said the job of marshal is similar to that of a sheriff. The marshal is “the keeper” of the peace, courts and jail, he said.

“George Washington created the marshal service in 1789,” Jordan said, adding the father of the nation’s first president was a sheriff.

If confirmed, Jordan said he would be the first sheriff appointed U.S. marshal in the Eastern District of Missouri in 40 years.

“There will be a lot of travel involved in this,” he said of the position. The marshal’s service has offices in St. Louis and Cape Girardeau, Jordan said.

Jordan said as marshal he wants to visit every sheriff’s office and strengthen relations between the federal agency and sheriff’s departments.

“I want to bring a dose of localism to the federal government,” he said.

Once Jordan is appointed marshal, state law requires the Cape Girardeau County Commission to immediately appoint someone to fill the sheriff vacancy, said County Clerk Kara Clark Summers.

That individual would serve until an election is held to fill Jordan’s unexpired term, she said.

Jordan was re-elected in 2016 to another four-year term.

Under state law, if the vacancy occurs within nine months of a general election, voters will select a new sheriff at that election. In this case, sheriff’s candidates would be on the ballot in the election this November, Summers said.

The local political parties would select their candidates who would run in the general election, the county clerk said.

Independent candidates also can file for sheriff. Under state law, such candidates must submit petitions signed by registered voters in the county equal to at least 2 percent of the number of voters who cast ballots in the last sheriff’s race, Summers said.

The winner of that election would then serve as sheriff until the unexpired term ends in 2020, she said.

By Mark Bliss | Southeast Missourian