- Associated Press - Tuesday, December 23, 2014

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - Mark Dayton is making another fashion statement while ushering in a second term as Minnesota governor: He’s again ditching black-tie attire in favor of blue jeans for what is shaping up as a laid-back inaugural.

Dayton spokesman Linden Zakula said Tuesday that there are only two events planned, the swearing-in ceremony on Jan. 5 and an open-to-the-public party five days later.

The agenda is more limited than Dayton’s first inaugural, which included a statewide tour and other smaller events. But like the prior inaugural, Dayton is dimming the glitz on the traditional ball by keeping the dress code relaxed. The “North Star Ball” will be held at the Union Depot in St. Paul with a cash bar and admission ranging from $15 for students to $50 for others who buy at the door. Advance tickets will be cheaper.

An inaugural committee established last week will oversee fundraising to cover event costs that aren’t recouped by admission fees. In 2011, the inaugural dinner brought in $48,780 toward the roughly $124,000 in costs that year, according to tax records filed by that inaugural committee.

The formal swearing-in will occur at noon at Landmark Center on the year’s first Monday, as is tradition. Besides Dayton, the ceremony will include the oaths of Lt. Gov.-elect Tina Smith, who is a newcomer to elective office; Attorney General Lori Swanson, who begins a third term; Secretary of State-elect Steve Simon, a longtime legislator; and Auditor Rebecca Otto, who enters her third term. All are Democrats.

A massive Capitol renovation project that has much of the building sealed off required planners to look for an off-site venue. But the days of Capitol ceremonies are fading anyway: The last inaugural to occur inside the Capitol was in 1999, when the Reform Party’s Jesse Ventura took his oath.

The Minnesota celebration is muted compared with events in nearby states.

New Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner will hold a $1,000-per-person dinner and reception at that state’s Capitol. The Republican also will be feted in a concert headlined by country star Toby Keith and blues artist Buddy Guy.

In neighboring Wisconsin, Scott Walker will ring in his second term with a cocktail-attire gala on Madison’s lakefront. In the days leading up to his inauguration, Walker is also hosting a celebratory event in Milwaukee and an ice-skating session with the GOP governor.

Iowa’s Terry Branstad will be inaugurated for an unprecedented sixth - but not consecutive - term with a black tie-optional ball, where a portion of proceeds will go to a scholarship fund bearing the Republican governor’s name.



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