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Morning Read: Cuccinelli, McAuliffe Still Neck and Neck

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    NEWSLETTERS

    The latest poll shows Virginia gubernatorial candidates Ken Cuccinelli and Terry McAuliffe running in a dead heat, with each candidate getting 38 percent of the vote.

    With 21 percent of voters saying they're still undecided, the race is still up for grabs.

    Both candidates have a lot of work to do before November: 60 percent of voters haven't heard enough about McAuliffe to form an opinion and 44 percent still need more information on Cuccinelli.

    The Quinnipiac University poll also found that if Lt. Gov Bill Bolling does decide to run as an independent (he's supposed to announce his decision next month), he wouldn’t be much of a game changer. With Bolling in the mix, McAuliffe leads Cuccinelli 34 to 31 percent, a lead that nearly falls within the poll’s 2.9 percent margin of error.

    Another interesting takeaway from the poll: Cuccinelli actually has a slight lead over McAuliffe among independent voters, 33-29 percent.

    Many within the Republican establishment have expressed concern that the outspoken Tea Party candidate -- who just came out with a book that bashes Obama -- won’t be able to attract enough independent voters to win the swing-state of Virginia.

    ...And the poll established that McDonnell is still a popular governor: 53 percent of voters approve of the way he is handling things, while only 28 percent disapprove.

    IN OTHER NEWS:

    * Mayor Gray is set to announce his latest sustainability plan today. Among his expected proposals: a “pay-as-you-throw” pricing structure for waste collection. (Washington Business Journal)

    * D.C. collected around $26 million in traffic camera revenues in January -- a 113 percent increase since January 2012. (Washington Examiner) And the News4 I-team revealed the locations of the cameras around the region that collected the most in fines. (News4 I-Team)

    * Virginia House conference committee members made their latest transportation funding proposal to their Senate counterparts Tuesday night. Similar to Gov. Bob McDonnell's original proposal, the House's proposal gets rid of the the state's 17.5-cent gas tax and replaces it with a 3.5-percent gas sales tax. But it would also add a 1-percent vehicle titling fee and hike the state sales tax from 5 to 5.3 percent, slightly less than what McDonnell proposed. (News4

    * Maryland Senate President Mike Miller calls GOP members “Neanderthals” for saying a gas tax hike is unnecessary. (Maryland Reporter)

    * Greater Greater Washington, DCist and Prince of Petworth asked the at-large candidate for their stances on six proposals for ethics reform. (Check out their responses here)

    * President Bill Clinton will host a fundraiser for his bud Terry McAuliffe in March. (The Hill)

    * Councilmember David Grosso says he is concerned that Council members’ involvement in the contracting process is uninformed and a dangerous opportunity for corruption. (David Grosso)

    * Gov. O’Malley backs a controversial proposed law that would prohibit anyone from purchasing a gun if they had been involuntarily committed to a public or private mental health facility for any length of time. (Washington Post)

    * The D.C. Council voted Tuesday to approve a $12.7 million, two-year contract to overhaul management of United Medical Center. (Washington Post)

    * D.C.’s at-large special election race gets heated: Elissa Silverman’s campaign says pro-marijuana candidate Paul Zukerberg didn’t collect enough valid signatures to get on the ballot. But should Silverman be pointing fingers? (News4)

    * Legislation to toughen the penalties for texting while driving is on its way to Gov. Bob McDonnell's desk. (News4)

    * Virginia House approves legislation that would ban welfare recipients from using money at government run liquor stores and casinos, tattoo parlors or strip clubs. (Washington Post)