Larry Hogan, chairman of the conservative activist group Change Maryland, will move a step closer to a run for the Republican nomination Friday night with a speech in which he will talk about his plans for 2014.

Hogan, a former appointments secretary to Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr., will speak tonight to a gathering of his organization in the same Annapolis hotel that is hosting the Republican state convention.

For months, Hogan has been hinting that he might join the three-way race of Harford County Executive David R. Craig, Del. Ron George of Anne Arundel County and Charles County business executive Charles Lollar. Unlike the others, he has dismissed the importance of an early start in a race for which the filing deadline is not until February.

Hogan's Change Maryland group bills itself as a nonpartisan group with 65,000 followers that is working to change the direction of state politics.

George said Craig appears to be trying to increase excitement about a future announcement and bristled at his choice of a venue.

"He's kind of trying to hijack the convention from the other candidates who are being fair to each other," he said.

While Hogan is hinting at a campaign in Maryland, Craig and Lollar were in Arizona courting support at the National Governors Association. George chose to remain in Maryland.