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UPDATED: Prominent Virginians descend on Richmond for McDonnell inauguration

Anita Kumar

Republican Bob McDonnell will take the oath of office around noon today in front of a crowd of thousands outside the historic state Capitol.

All of Virginia's living governors except for one are expected to attended -- Tim Kaine (2006-2010), Jim Gilmore (1998-2002), George Allen (1994-1998), Doug Wilder (1990-1994), Gerald Baliles (1986-1990), Chuck Robb (1982-1986) and Linwood Holton (1970- 1974).

Only Mark Warner (2002-2006), now a U.S. senator, will be absent, due to a "family medical issue,'' spokesman Kevin Hall said. Warner called McDonnell Wednesday to wish him well, Hall said.

Virginia U.S. Sen. Jim Webb, former U.S. Sen. John Warner and Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley also will be on hand. Kaine and O'Malley worked together frequently so it's a bit of a surprise that the Democratic governor to the north would travel to Richmond to attend a Republican inauguration when O'Malleyhelped raise money for McDonnell's Democratic opponent, state Sen. Creigh Deeds. Seven of Virginia's 11 congressmen are attending as is Attorney General Bill Mims and Richmond Mayor Dwight Jones.

"Governor O'Malley felt that it was important to attend in the spirit of both bipartisanship and partnership,'' O'Malley communications director Rick Abbruzzese tells us. "When it comes to cross-border partnerships on public safety and the Bay, it's important that Maryland and Virginia continue to work together."

The inaugural committee has given out 30,000 tickets. Nearly 5,000 guests will be seated in bleachers facing the south portico of the Capitol where McDonnell, Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling and Attorney General-elect Ken Cuccinelli take the oath of office. Inaugural spokesman J. Tucker Martin said many of the seats will be filled with family or friends of the three men or their staffs.

About 120 members of McDonnell's family will attend, including his 93-year-old father who suffers from Alzheimer's disease and lives in a Northern Virginia facility. McDonnelll's eldest daughter, Jeanine, an Iraq war Army veteran who appeared on the campaign trail with her father, will sing the Star Spangled Banner.

Immediately following the ceremony, a parade will spill out into the streets of downtown Richmond. It will include 47 groups, many of which have significance for McDonnell and Virginia's future first lady, Maureen, a former Washington Redskins cheerleader. His high school alma mater, Bishop Ireton in Alexandria, and one of college alma maters, Notre Dame, will be represented as will his American Legion Post from Virginia Beach. The Washington Redskins Cheerleaders Alumni Association and Hoggettes, and the Washington Redskins Marching Band will also join the parade.

By Anita Kumar  |  January 16, 2010; 10:00 AM ET
Categories:  Anita Kumar , Bill Bolling , Creigh Deeds , George F. Allen , James Webb , Ken Cuccinelli , Mark Warner , Robert F. McDonnell , Timothy M. Kaine  
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