Joe Cluster chosen to replace father in House of Delegates – Baltimore Sun


Joe Cluster, state GOP executive director, chosen to replace father in House of Delegates.
to-day operations for three years, has been chosen to succeed his father, John W. E. Cluster Jr., representing Baltimore County in the House of Delegates. The Baltimore County Republican State Central Committee decided Monday night to forward Cluster’s name to Gov. Larry Hogan for appointment. Under Maryland’s Constitution, the governor must fill any vacancy in the General Assembly with a person approved by the central committee of the party of the last person elected. Joe Cluster, 37, has been executive director of the state GOP since 2013, steering the party apparatus through the election in 2014 that brought Hogan to power. His father, 62, resigned from the House July 31 after Hogan appointed him to the Maryland Parole Commission. He was in his third term of representing the 8th Legislative District, which includes the Parkville and Perry Hall areas.

Al Mendelsohn, chairman of the central committee, said the decision to send only Cluster’s name to the governor was not unanimous. The committee is able to send up to three names. Mendelsohn said 26 delegates and alternates participated in the choice. He did not offer details of the vote.

Cluster won over two other applicants, Patrick O’Keefe and Norma Secoura, Mendelsohn said. O’Keefe is an aide to Del. Christian Miele, while Secoura is a member of the central committee. Mendelsohn said the panel was impressed with the younger Cluster’s deep roots in the community, where he grew up and attended Parkville High School. “I’m always happy when people are involved in politics not to change the world but to improve their communities,” Mendelsohn said. Cluster said he will serve as executive director of the state Republican party until Jan. 3, when the term of the current party chairwoman, Diana Waterman, expires. Waterman is not seeking re-election.

Cluster said that when Waterman’s successor takes over, he will discuss with that person whether it would be practical for him to continue as executive director. If he stayed, Cluster said, he would have to take a leave of absence from the party job during the legislature’s annual 90-day legislative session — which begins Jan. 11 — because he would be barred by law from raising money for the party. Cluster said he’s prepared to leave the job if such an arrangement wouldn’t work. “I think I’ve put the party in a pretty good position,” he said.


Source: Joe Cluster chosen to replace father in House of Delegates – Baltimore Sun