The ringing of the telephone awakened Prince George's County Council member Samuel W. Bogley from a sound sleep on the night of June 29. The caller was Michael Canning, press aide to gubernatorial candidate Harry R. Hughes and an old friend of Bogley family.
"Sam," said Canning to Bogley, "how'd you like to come on board with Harry?"
"Well, I like Harry very much," said Bogley, assuming that he was being asked to endorse the candidate, 'Give me a few days to think about it."
Two days later, just before Hughes was required by law to file his ticket with lieutenant governor candidate, Canning called back.
"What do you say, Sam?" he asked.
"I've decided to do it," responded Bogley.
"Great," said Canning. "We'll call the press conference right away."
Bogley was perplexed "Why," he asked, "do you want to call a press conference just to announce that I've endorsed Harry?"
"No, Sam," andswered Canning. "We want to announce that you'll be Harry's running mate for lieutenant governor."
Bogley was surprised.
"Me?" he said. "Harry wants me?"
So it was that modest, self-effacing Sam Bogley - the 36-year-old attorney who prays every day at his parish church in Bowie but does not feel worthy to call himself a Catholic, the politician known for his gentleness, not his savvy - was recruited for the Democratic ticket that stunned the political world Tuesday by winning the Maryland primary.
It was typical of Bogley that the first person he called after deciding to go with Hughes was Steny H. Hoyer the powerful state Senate president and leader of the county Democratic organization, who was running for lieutenant governor himself on a ticket with Acting Gov. Blair Lee III.
Bogley told Hoyer that he was going with Hughes because he considered him the best candidate and that he did not want Hoyer to think that he was actually running against him.
"There's no other way to look at it, Sam," said Hoyer. "But you do what you think you should. Harry's not going to win."
Of all the ironic scenes that were in evidence on the night of Hughes' unexpected triumph, the most dramatic was this: Steny Hoyer appearing at the Hughes campaign party at the Lord Baltimore Hotel, shocked and depressed, only minutes after a jubilent Sam Bogley had been carried in on the shoulders of his friends.
"It was not supposed to happen that way," said one Prince Georges' politician. "Steny was our golden boy, he was our up-and-comer, our ticket to statewide prestige. He was supposed to be governor in four years after Lee's first term. And Sam, he was not in the ball game. It's just unbelievable."
Hoyer, the youngest county politician ever elected to the state Senate, the youngest Senate president in Maryland history, one of the three architects of the respected county organization, the politician known for his unrestrained energy and ambition, found it unbelievable himself.
"Steny's going to have to wake up tomorrow morning and think about this," said his press aide, Patrick McGrath, on the night of the upset. "He's going to have to think about all he's done and where he is. Then he's going to have to think about Sam Bogley."
"Yeah, I thought about it," Hoyer said yesterday morning at his redbrick home in District Heights. "I thought about it a little and then tried to forget it. I feel lousy. But that's the way it goes."
Hoyer said his only immediate plans were to practice law and help Hughes and County Executive Winfield M. Kelly Jr. get elected in November. "I haven't had time to think about my political future," he said, "because I didn't think I would lose. I was never thinking in terms of alternatives."
Many of his loyal supporters, however, began exploring the alternatives immediately. Some suggested that U.S. Rep. Gladys Spellman should retire in 1980 and let Hoyer take her 5th Congressional District seat. Others said that Hoyer should start running for the U.S. Senate.
For, the most part, the organization politicians in Prince George's were amazed by the turns of fortune for Bogley and Hoyer, 'Sam's just a heartbeat away now," said William Amonett, a fellow County Council member. I'm disappointed. I wanted to see Lee and Hoyer win."
Said Charles Ryan, a state delegate from Bogley's hometown: 'Harry Hughes is a fine gentleman, and Sam Bogley, for good or ill, is a Bowie resident."
Many of his Prince George's colleagues questioned whether Bogley had the political know-how to cope with the lieutenant governor's post. They noted that as a County Council member Bogley was often the "odd man out," refusing to partake in the vote-trading and give-and-take that are often a part of political life.
"I'm the first one to admit that I'll need all the help I can get," said Bogley. "I had no idea that I'd be in a position of being lieutenant governor. I went to church this morning and saw a lot of people praying for me."