WAMU 88.5 : The Kojo Nnamdi Show

The Politics Hour - March 21, 2014

Early voting begins in D.C., as mayoral candidates chase votes in the home stretch of the their race. An Academy Award-winning actor pushes Maryland lawmakers to continue offering tax credits for his popular series. And a congressional candidate in one of Virginia's most competitive races looks to Oprah Winfrey herself. Join us for our weekly review of the politics, policies and personalities of the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia.

Watch A Featured Clip

After Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring refused to defend the state's gay marriage ban in court shortly after he took office, some have wondered whether he will take the same approach to some of the state's other hot-button issues -- namely, laws that require abortion clinics to meet the same standards as hospitals.

Some believe those standards -- which include wider hallways and wider doors -- were designed to put the state's abortion clinics out of business.

Herring said his office is reviewing a case challenging those laws and declined to comment, but told NBC4 reporter and resident analyst Tom Sherwood: "As a matter of policy, I don't think it's good for the General Assembly to come between a woman and her doctor."

"What we ought to be doing is making sure women have more access to the health care needs," Herring said.

Kojo Nnamdi Show/Washington City Paper D.C. Mayoral Poll

mayoral poll resultsWith early voting underway and the primary just over a week off, Mayor Vincent Gray and Council member Muriel Bowser (D-Ward 4) are neck and neck in the race for D.C.'s highest office.

A new poll commissioned by The Kojo Nnamdi Show and The Washington City Paper finds Gray and Bowser each drawing 27 percent from likely voters, with Council member Jack Evans (D-Ward 2) pulling 13 percent and Council member Tommy Wells (D-Ward 6) 9 percent.

"It really looks like a two-candidate race at this point," says Tom Jensen, director of Public Policy Polling, the national firm that conducted the poll.

"Vincent Gray or Muriel Bowser is overwhelmingly likely to win the primary in a couple of weeks. The race really couldn't be any closer right now. Our previous polling had found Gray ahead, so Bowser seems to have the momentum in the race," he says.

Restaurant owner Andy Shallal polls at 7 percent, Council member Vincent Orange (D-At Large) at 2 percent and former State Department official Reta Jo Lewis at 1 percent. Fourteen percent of voters say they are undecided.

The poll reached 860 likely voters on landline phones between March 13-16. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.3 percent.

Three polls have been conducted on the D.C. mayoral race: Washington Post (January), WAMU/NBC4 (February) and KNS/City Paper (March). The below graphic shows a tightening race between Mayor Vincent Gray and Council member Muriel Bowser (D-Ward 4).

Read the full poll results and additional coverage on the mayoral race.

WAMU 88.5

Kate Mulgrew: "Born With Teeth" (Rebroadcast)

Kate Mulgrew, who stars as "Red" in the Netflix TV series "Orange Is The New Black", opens up in a new memoir about her complicated family and the baby she gave away for adoption as a young woman.


Sweet Name Of Kids' Clinic Gives Some People Heartburn

The Krispy Kreme Challenge Children's Specialty Clinic gets its name from a student-run charity race in Raleigh, N.C., that has already raised $1 million for kids. Still, some find the name unhealthy.

Americans Don't Disagree On Politics As Much As You Might Think

Everyone knows that distrust of Washington is at near-record levels and that Congress has grown more polarized. But what's going on with American voters is more complicated than you may realize.

Someday A Helicopter Drone May Fly Over Mars And Help A Rover

NASA is building a 2-pound helicopter drone that would help guide the vehicle on the Red Planet's surface. That way, the rover wouldn't need to wander as much to find its way around.

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