After being sworn in for a second term on Jan. 19, Maryland Gov. Harry Hughes plans to hold a $125-a-person black tie dinner in Baltimore that organizers hope will raise enough money to erase a $60,000 campaign debt left from the governor's reelection campaign.
The dinner at Baltimore's new Convention Center is expected to draw some 1,000 supporters of Hughes and his running mate, Lt. Gov.-elect J. Joseph Curran Jr.
After the dinner Hughes will host a formal ball, also at the convention center, that is expected to draw as many as 5,000 people with tickets priced moderately, to cover expenses, according to those planning the inauguration.
Four years ago, after being sworn in -- without a lot of pomp -- as a governor who would do things differently, Hughes and his supporters and major contributors gathered for a small dinner at the Governor's Mansion.
"This time we had so many contributors we couldn't do it there," said Hughes fund-raiser William Boucher III.
Hughes waited three weeks to hold the 1979 inaugural ball, a delay that Boucher said led many to view the festivities as "an afterthought."
Hughes' spokesman Lou Panos said planning for the 1983 inaugural events began last week in a meeting with Hughes, his wife Pat, staff and campaign aides and representatives of the National Guard, which has official responsibility for running the afternoon inauguration. An official inaugural ball committee is being set up to handle the evening events.
As provided by the state constitution, Hughes' inauguration will be held one week after the General Assembly convenes on Jan. 12. Hughes must be sworn in between noon and 2 p.m. The oath of office will be administered in the historic state-house's Senate chamber, which normally seats 47 state senators, a handful of aides and reporters and up to 120 persons seated in the gallery. For this occasion, however, seating capacity will be expanded to allow the 188 state legislators, judges, family and selected guests to view the proceedings.
Hughes will deviate from tradition and give his inaugural address on the north portico of the capitol, which faces an open mall between the governor's official residence and state legislative buildings.
In the past, inaugural addresses have been given on the south portico, which is at the top of a grassy hill and has a view blocked by trees and a statue.
According to Boucher, the Hughes campaign, which raised and spent just over $1 million for the November election, still has a debt of about $60,000, of which $25,000 is a bank loan.
"In this election money was tight," said one Hughes aide."At the end we nearly didn't have enough to run our TV ads.