McDonnell prank makes McAuliffe especially early riser

RICHMOND — Gov. Terry McAuliffe, too energetic and ambitious to sleep much more than four hours a night, was up at 4 a.m. Monday, the first workday of his governorship. But not by design.

His predecessor in the Executive Mansion, former Gov. Robert F. McDonnell (R), left an alarm clock set for that ungodly hour in the governor’s bedroom as a practical joke.

The latest on Virginia politics

Clear leaders emerge in primary races in Northern Virginia, finance reports show

Clear leaders emerge in primary races in Northern Virginia, finance reports show

Republican Barbara Comstock in the 10th District and Democrat Don Beyer in the 8th District are ahead.

Va. Republicans aren’t blinking in Medicaid showdown

Va. Republicans aren’t blinking in Medicaid showdown

Although expansion of coverage is backed by some important donors, GOP lawmakers maintain opposition.

In 10th District debate, GOP hopefuls target front-runner

Six Virginians depict themselves as the conservative heirs to retiring U.S. Rep. Frank Wolf.

Read more

McAuliffe (D) proceeded to his office, where he got another jolt: a huge stuffed bear in the governor’s private office bathroom. It was no teddy bear. It was the real, taxidermied thing, poached from the office of McDonnell’s natural resources secretary Doug Domenech.

“It’s standing straight up. It’s coming at you,” said McAuliffe spokesman Brian Coy. “It’s lunging at you with teeth bare. It’s actually pretty scary.”

The bear bore a note: “It can get really wild in the governor’s mansion.”

The one-time capital of the Confederacy is steeped in tradition, from the formal morning suits sported at inaugurations to the way people refer to the man who designed Richmond’s historic Capitol. When McAuliffe made reference in his inauguration speech to “Jefferson’s Capitol,” it set off a buzz among insiders, as if to say, “Hey, that’s Mr. Jefferson to you!”

Gubernatorial pranks are part of that proud tradition. Outgoing governor Mark R. Warner (D) left a life-sized cut-out of himself in the governor’s mansion shower for Timothy M. Kaine (D). Kaine hid cell phones in the mansion elevator shaft and periodically called them as a trick on McDonnell.

 
Read what others are saying