Gov. Bob McDonnell will mix a little business with pleasure when he jets off to Houston for the weekend.
Of course, he’ll be there to cheer on hometown team Virginia Commonwealth University in its Final Four game against Butler Saturday night.
McDonnell, accompanied by First Lady Maureen McDonnell and daughters Jeanine and Cailin, will sit with House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, who represents the Richmond area, Richmond Mayor Dwight Jones and VCU President Michael Rao.
On Monday, McDonnell will attend a fundraiser for his political action committee, Opportunity Virginia, at the Coronado Club in Houston. John L. Nau III, president of Houston’s largest beer distributor and a University of Virginia graduate, and Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott are hosting the event. About 35 people are expected to attend and donate $65,000, according to Phil Cox, McDonnell top political adviser.
That night, McDonnell will attend the national championship game with Texas Gov. Rick Perry, a friend and chairman of the Republican Governors Association. McDonnell serves as the group’s vice chairman.
On Friday afternoon, before they left town, McDonnell and his wife gathered with about 50 of his staffers on the steps of the Virginia Capitol to take a photo in their black and gold finest. McDonnell had offered his office the option of dressing down for the day, provided they made donations to VCU’s Massey Cancer Center.
Some administration officials didn’t go particularly casual, wearing business suits with VCU gold ties. But others wore VCU T-shirts. McDonnell wore a yellow VCU polo shirt underneath a blazer. McDonnell told the group that they had raised $2,700 for the cancer center. He said he hoped more than $10,000 would be raised from other businesses that offered their workers the same deal.
“I think it’s been an enormous positive for the city...It’s a marvelous Cinderella story,” he said, referring both to VCU and the University of Richmond, which also unexpectedly made it to the tournament’s Sweet 16. “Americans love these stories of overachievement and pulling for the underdog. It’s part and parcel of the great American story.”
McDonnell’s political action committee will pay for the hotel and flights. VCU and the RGA are paying for the game tickets.