Maryland Lt. Gov. Samuel Bogley, who promised Gov. Harry Hughes three years ago that he would never publicly contradict him, has told Hughes that he may run against him or against U.S. Sen. Paul Sarbanes in 1982, possibly as a Republican.
The unpredictable Bogley, known more for candor than for political savvy, gave Hughes the news last Thursday after trying for weeks to set up a meeting to discuss their respective political futures. The governor, according to aides, was not upset.
"I mentioned to him that I've been approached to run for everything from governor to Prince George's County executive and I wanted to explore the full spectrum," and Bogley, whose rise to the state's second highest office is widely considered a political accident. If he decides to run agains Hughes, who has yet to declare his candidacy, or to support one of the governor's 1982 opponents, Bogley said he will resign from the $52,500-a-year lieutenant governor's post and allow Hughes to appoint a successor.
The conclusion of the Hughes-Bogley partnership came as a surprise to no one. Bogley was plucked from the obscurity of the Prince George's County Concil and asked to join Hughes's longshot ticket two days before the filing deadline in 1978 -- and only after many others turned the offer down. Ever since, it has been an open secret that the two have little in common, particularly when it comes to the strong antiabortion sentiments of Bogley and his wife Rita.
Bogley has publicly agonized at least once a year about whether to resign, given his minimal role in the administration of the governor he rarely sees or talks to. Earlier this year, Bogley ruled out the possibility of another Hughes-Bogley ticket and the governor made no attempt to change his mind.
Hughes is now said to be considering as possible running mates House Speaker Benjamin L. Cardin, who just completed a statewide poll of his and Hughes' popularity, Baltimore County Executive Donald P. Hutchinson, who has also done a poll, and State Treasurer and former Senate President William James.
Said one aide to Hughes, "I'd be shocked if the governor asked Bogley to run with him again. On the other hand, I'd be shocked if Sam said yes."
Those possibilities were officially dead as of last Thrusday. "It was a milestone meeting," said the self-effacaing Bogley as he worked at an aide's desk outside the lieutenant governor's office. "Now we can look upon ourselves as two independent persons. Basically we have gone back to what we had before I was asked to make a promise to not publicly disagree."
Bogley said he will decide by the fall whether to run for governor, lieutenant governor with another candidate, U.S. Senate or county executive in 1982. He said he would not enter a Prince George's executive race if Republican incumbent Lawrence Hogan seeks reelection.
But even as he examines these options, Bogley, an unknown until three years ago, is not rated as a threat by most Maryland politicians. Although his position -- and his seasonal agonizing -- have given Bogley some name recognition, his statewide base of support is mainly limited to antiabortion groups.
Bogley must also decide whether to remain a Democrat or to leave the party with which he feels little affinity, at least on the state level. State Republican leaders actively encouraged Bogley last spring to jump party lines and run in the special Prince George's congressional election, a possibility Bogley seriously considered before finally rejecting it.
"There probably isn't a place for me in the Democratic Party on the state level," said Bogley. "I think they've suffered with my presence." And, while Bogley says that he agrees with Hughes on many issues, he says he is more similar politically to Anne Arundel County Executive Robert Pascal, the only major Republican figure now pursuing the governorship.
Bogley says he has gotten "feelers" from some Pascal supporters but none from the prospective candidate himself. A race against Sarbanes -- either as a Democrat or a Republican -- would be the more natural progression from his present post, Bogley said. Then too, Bogley says he has heard rumors -- but only rumors -- that Hughes may offer him a cabinet post or a job as liaison to cities and counties.
But while Bogley examines these possibilities he also admits that he may, at summer's end, find himself heading back to Prince George's County where Harry Hughes found him three years ago.