Larry Hogan -- Republican

Hogan, 57, a former appointments secretary to Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr., founded the conservative advocacy group Change Maryland. Despite a late start, he was the leader in a February Baltimore Sun poll that showed two-thirds of Republicans undecided. Boyd Rutherford, 56, secretary of general services under Ehrlich and an African-American, is Hogan's running mate. (Kaitlin Newman for Baltimore Sun)

Republican Larry Hogan announced his candidacy for governor by email Tuesday, postponing a planned rally because of today's snowstorm.

Hogan said in a statement that, "an overwhelming majority of Marylanders, regardless of party, feel that we are way off track, heading in the wrong direction, and that new leadership is needed in Annapolis. And one thing is clear: we can’t change Maryland without changing governors. So after serious reflection, I have decided to answer the call, and step up to this challenge.”

The former state cabinet member and successful real estate businessman plans to build on the advocacy group called Change Maryland that he founded three years ago. Hogan considered running for governor in the previous election, but dropped out of the race when former Gov. Robert. L. Ehrlich decided to challenge Gov. Martin O'Malley to a rematch.

Hogan was appointments secretary in Ehrlich's administration. Through a spokesman, Ehrlich said he was "proud and happy" Hogan is joining the race. 

"Larry's decision to join the race guarantees the most talented gubernatorial field in my lifetime - a sign of renewed strength in our state party," Ehrlich said in a statement.

Hogan joins a Republican primary contest that has seen lackluster fundraising compared to the competitive fight among the Democratic nominees.

In his candidacy announcement, Hogan made reference to the dominance of state Democratic Party, which has a two-to-one registration advantage, and said he intends to make the race competitive.

“The establishment in Annapolis has just been expecting another coronation in November,” Hogan said in his statement. "But today, regardless of the weather, we're putting them on notice that we're going to give them the toughest fight of their lives.”

The rally has been rescheduled for Jan. 29.

Hogan joins a Republican primary contest that includes Harford County Executive David R. Craig, Del. Ron George of Anne Arundel and Charles County businessman Charles Lollar.