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As filing deadline loomed, last-minute surprises in District 13

By Amanda Yeager, ayeager@tribune.com

3:10 PM EST, February 26, 2014

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Just minutes before the 9 p.m. candidate filing deadline Tuesday night, the Democratic side of the District 13 delegate race, thought for months to be set in stone, got a surprising twist.

Nayab Siddiqui, a local businessman and alternate on the Democratic Central Committee, filed for a delegate seat in the district, five months after his wife, school board member and physician Janet Siddiqui, filed for the same position. He already filed for re-election to the central committee in January, and hasn't withdrawn from that race. 

Janet Siddiqui, also a Democrat, has been campaigning alongside incumbent Dels. Shane Pendergrass and Frank Turner, as well as Del. Guy Guzzone, who is running to replace retiring state Sen. Jim Robey, as part of “Team 13.” 

But Nayab Siddiqui’s entrance into the race raises questions about whether Janet Siddiqui, who was re-elected to the school board in 2012 and has two years left in her term, will continue to run for a delegate seat or withdraw and stay on the school board. 

On Wednesday, Del. Guy Guzzone said Nayab Siddiqui's candidacy in District 13 "came as a total surprise."

Guzzone said he had talked with Nayab and Janet Siddiqui after the filing, but said he didn't know yet whether one would withdraw from the race. 

Del. Frank Turner, an incumbent who filed for re-election in September, said he could only speak for himself when asked for insight Wednesday on the future of the District 13 candidate pool. 

Asked whether he or another candidate might be considering withdrawing from the race, he said, "I guess we'll know that by tomorrow night." The deadline for a candidate to withdraw his or her candidacy before the primary election is Feb. 27. 

Phone calls to both Nayab and Janet Siddiqui were not returned as of Wednesday afternoon. 

Democrat Vanessa Atterbeary, an attorney and former state delegate candidate in Montgomery County’s District 18, also filed at the last minute Tuesday night. The Board of Elections' website listed a Fulton address for Atterbeary.  Like Nayab Siddiqui, Atterbeary is also registered to run for a seat on the Democratic Central Committee. She filed for both positions Feb. 25.