For a day and a half, a husband and wife were running for the same seat in Howard County’s district 13.
The political world got a last-minute shock Tuesday night when Nayab Siddiqui, husband of district 13 candidate and Howard County school board member Janet Siddiqui, filed to run in the same race.
But as of Thursday afternoon, Janet Siddiqui is no longer up against her husband. She has officially withdrawn from the race, according to the state Board of Elections’ online list of candidates.
She said she made the decision after learning that school board incumbents Frank Aquino and Brian Meshkin would not run for re-election.
"As I saw things unfold even the day of the filing, I just felt that in that moment it was the right thing to do," she said.
Of her husband's decision to run in District 13 instead, she said, "It was his decision and I’m really excited about it. I think he will be great; he brings that business perspective... We do everything together in the community and the county, and I think he’ll do great things in Annapolis and working with the other state legislators, and I’m just very excited for him and I’m glad about my decision."
Nayab Siddiqui is on the executive team of Columbia-based Scientific Systems and Software International. He's also an alternate on the Democratic Central Committee.
In a letter to supporters sent out this afternoon, Janet Siddiqui wrote: "Due to my commitment to the people and children of Howard County I felt that it was my duty and responsibility to continue on the Board of Education to help maintain stability and direction that is needed to make our school system world class as part of Vision 2018, and to keep Howard County education number one in Maryland.
"With the filing deadline approaching," the letter continues, "there was only one person close to me who I felt would carry on my vision for Howard County and the State of Maryland, and will be a perfect replacement for 'Team 13'; my husband Nayab Siddiqui. He shares the same values, passion and vision as it relates to Education, Environment, Business and Economics, Public Safety, Health Care, Families and Seniors. His passion for serving and his vision for the future run parallel to mine. I strongly believe he is the right person to represent District 13 in Annapolis and I urge you to support his candidacy."
She said she was keeping her options open when asked whether she would consider a future State House run. "I’ve always looked forward to that in my plan," she said.
Janet Siddiqui, a pediatrician who lives in Clarksville, had been welcomed into the fold by Democratic incumbent Dels. Frank Turner, Shane Pendergrass and Guy Guzzone, who along with state Sen. Jim Robey have traditionally run together as “Team 13.”
Robey plans to retire at the end of the 2014 legislative session, and with Guzzone campaigning to succeed him in the Senate, the team announced in June that Janet Siddiqui would be their newest running mate.
Whether Nayab Siddiqui will join “Team 13” in his wife’s place is unclear.
"I don’t know what will happen," Janet Siddiqui said. "They have to make that decision in terms of who they’ll choose for the team. I’m hopeful that they will choose Nayab."
Other Democratic candidates include Oakland Mills community organizer Fred Eiland and Fulton lawyer Vanessa Atterbeary, who also filed at the last minute on Tuesday.
Atterbeary also filed to run for a spot on Howard County’s Democratic Central Committee on Tuesday, but withdrew from that race Thursday.
Sara Toth contributed to this story.