Joe Cluster, a onetime aide to former Lt. Gov. Michael S. Steele (R), has taken over as the new executive director of the Maryland Republican Party.
Maryland GOP Chairwoman Diana Waterman on Monday announced the hiring of Cluster, 34, who fills an opening left by David Ferguson’s resignation in late August.
“It’s been a job that I’ve always wanted,” said Cluster, a Maryland native and son of Del. John W.E. Cluster Jr. (R-Baltimore County).
The younger Cluster said in an interview that he plans to put a priority on fundraising. That, he said, will include persuading corporations that now only give to the Maryland Democratic Party to invest in the state’s minority party as well.
He said he will also attempt to steer the party’s resources toward targeted legislative races, with the hopes of picking up seats in a General Assembly where Republicans are greatly outnumbered.
Cluster’s resume includes some previous posts with the Maryland GOP. In 2002, he ran the party’s field operation, and in 2004 he served as political director.
Cluster worked for a year in the appointments office of former governor Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. (R) before joining Steele’s office in 2004, where he served as director of external affairs for three years. Cluster has since held posts with GOPAC, a national party training organization,and the Republican National Committee — both entities that were led by Steele in recent years.
Steele floated the idea of running for governor next year but announced last month that he would take a pass on the race. He did not rule out a future run in Maryland.
Most recently, Cluster has worked for Joe Woods, a Harford County council member.