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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.
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.
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).