State Sen. Harry J. McGuirk made it to the elections board on time today.

Up until the last moment it had been uncertain. Even after the official announcement of candidacy had been made, fundraisers held and calls for support sent out, his running mate, Lt. Gov. Samuel Bogley, still found himself wondering, as he stood with his family in the parking lot of the state election board today, whether the wily McGuirk would go through with filing for governor of Maryland.

"I wonder if my groom will show up," mused a somewhat nonplussed Bogley, 20 minutes after McGuirk was supposed to have arrived. "Do you think he would leave me standing here on the church steps? I haven't talked to him since Wednesday night. For all I know he might be in California right now."

Finally, 35 minutes after the scheduled 3 p.m filing time, McGuirk arrived, to cheers of relief from Bogley's family and friends, who nervously remembered nearly four years of slights from Bogley's 1978 running mate, Gov. Harry Hughes.

Like many others, Bogley had heard rumors that McGuirk might back out and run for his "safe" south Baltimore legislative seat. In fact, unbeknownst to Bogley, McGuirk had several meeting with Hughes, one as recently as 10 days ago, in which they indirectly discussed the possibility of McGuirk withdrawing. And McGuirk had told several friends he really did not want to run for governor but felt compelled to because he had been unable to strike a deal with Hughes to run as his lieutenant governor.

So it was for good reason that Bogley, who arrived a few minutes early, nervously awaited the moment he would finally sever the ties that bound him to Hughes and hopefully rejuvenate his political career.

"It's kind of like getting married for the third time," Bogley said. "He (McGuirk) has been getting pressure from the city, a lot of pressure.

Bogley's quiet arrival at the election board was in marked contrast to that of Anne Arundel County Executive Robert A. Pascal, the Republican candidate for governor. An entourage, led by his running mate, former Montgomery County congressman Newton I. Steers Jr., awaited Pascal on the steps when he rounded the corner, wife Nancy on one arm and a baby under the other.

"A baby, he brought a baby?" Steers said, obviously surprised. "Wonder where he got it." (The child was Pascal's five-month-old grandson, Robert.)

The retinue swept inside, where Pascal and Steers wrote filing checks for $290 each and began answering desultory questions. They were still doing that when Bogley, dressed in a brown suit he purchased from Goodwill years ago, quietly walked into the parking lot.

It was 2:50 p.m. and Bogley stood alone as the Republicans streamed outside, Pascal toting his grandson in much the same fashion that the former Duke University halfback carried a football 25 years ago. Bogley joined in the applause, shook hands with both Pascal and Steers and then they were gone, leaving Bogley and friends to wait.

By 3:15 p.m., Bogley was talking alternatives. "You know I've made no bones about the fact that the (U.S.) Senate race is the one I'd really like to make," said Bogley, who waffled for months about which office to seek. "That's something I can do on my own and not be a marriage partner. But being realistic, this is the best position for me."

Overhearing, his mother-in-law, Catherine Brady, rolled her eyes. "Harry McGuirk will be here, Sam," she said. "Harry McGuirk will be here, have faith."

To that, Bogley responded, "Look, mom, I can't have anything but faith."

Finally, at 3:36 p.m., a cheer went up from McGuirk's wife and two daughters and Bogley's wife, Rita, as McGuirk rounded the corner.

"Got held up in traffic," McGuirk said, shaking hands. "Had traffic problems because of the delay in the roads program," he said, taking a humorous swipe at Hughes. "But that will be straightened out soon," he added.

For a second, Bogley said nothing. Then: "Well, if Mrs. McGuirk believes your alibi, then I believe your alibi too."

With that, the happy couple went up the steps to put the partnership in writing. . . finally.