Samuel W. Bogley's sudden rise from the obscurity of the Prince George's County Council to the office of lieutenant governor served as the backdrop today for a House committee hearing on bills that call for the separate election of governors and lieutenant governors in Maryland.
Although sponsors of the legislation said they were not "anti-Bogley," the dominant theme of their tetimony was that the new lieutenant governor might not be where he is today had he not been able to run on the ticket with Gov. Harry R. Hughes.
"If the lieutenant governor would have run separately last year, there are indications that many other people would have had a better chance of winning [than Bogley]," said Del. Frank M. Conaway (D-Baltimore). "Maybe Mr. Bogley wouldn't have been picked at all. At the time he was picked, it was difficult for Hughes to find anyone to run with him."
Hughes selected Bogley as his running-mate only hours before the Democratic primary filing deadline early last summer, at a time when his campaign was foundering. Bogley was as surprised as anyone when Hughes hooked up with him.
Del. Isaiah Dixon Jr., another black delegate from Baltimore who drafted bills similar to Conaway's said that many black voters felt disenfranchised last year because they were unable to vote for the Republicanlieutenant governor candidate, Aris Allen, a black physician from Annapolis, without also voting for the GOP gubernatirial candidate, J. Glenn Beall.
Conaway and Dixon received support for their measures from one member of the House Constitutional and Administrative Law Committee -- freshman Del. Sylvania Woods Jr., who, like Bogley, comes from Prince George's. "If this had been in effect last year," said Woods, "I'd be in a lot better shape than I am now."
Woods explained after the hearing that he believed Steny H. Hoyer, the former Senate president who ran and lost for lieutenant governor on a ticket with former Acting Gov. Blair Lee III, would have defeated Bogley in a head-to-head contest for the second spot.
"All of us in Prince George's would have been better off with Steny," Woods said. "A lot of people owed steny something around here and we would have gotten us better committee assignments. Bogley's newcomer and doesn't have that kind of authority."
Many committee members noted that the Maryland Constitution gives the lieutenant governor no powers or duties of his own. Since the role is defined only by the governor, they said, it would be possible that a lieutenant governor from a different faction or party would be left with nothing to do if the governor did not like him.
'I can see him in the role of counting telephone poles in the City of Annapolis for four years," said Del Francis W. White (D-Prince George's).
Bogley, Maryland's second elected lieutenant governor since the post was created in 1970, said he "sympathized" with the intent of the bills but opposed them for the reason stated by White.
"You're only asking for problems if you elect a lieutenant governor who doesn't get along with ernor has to be accepted as part of the administration. This is no part-time salary ($52,500 a year), and the citizens have a right to insist that the talents of the lieutenant governor are fully utilized."