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“Here’s to the winners.” Ron DeSantis, political insiders celebrate win at Inaugural Ball

About 1,600 people attended the black-tie event, which featured a live jazz band and an electric violinist.
Gov. Ron DeSantis and First Lady Casey DeSantis share their first dance at the Inaugural Ball. | Scott Keeler TIMES
Gov. Ron DeSantis and First Lady Casey DeSantis share their first dance at the Inaugural Ball. | Scott Keeler TIMES
Published Jan. 9
Updated Jan. 9

TALLAHASSEE — Tuesday night, the sound of the thunderous military jet flyover from the swearing-in ceremony was swapped for the plucking of a stand-up bass and the breathiness of a saxophone, as the state's capital slipped on their gowns and tuxedos for the swanky Inaugural Ball.

Around 1,600 lawmakers, lobbyists and other political insiders mingled and drank complimentary cocktails in the dimly lit Donald L. Tucker Civic Center at Florida State University. Meanwhile, in the VIP area, an electric violinist twirled on a stage while carving away at his violin with an electric blue light-up bow.

Earlier in the night, about 150 people lined up to take photos with Gov. Ron DeSantis and Casey, the First Lady.

Just before 9 p.m., the first couple emerged onstage for their first dance, along with Lt. Gov. Jeanette Nuñez, Attorney General Ashley Moody, Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried and their dates. Also invited onstage was Brian Ballard, the chair of the inauguration and Nick Iarossi, who led fundraising efforts, with their wives. Inaugural events are paid for by private donors.

"We had a really great day today," DeSantis told the crowd. "We wanted to thank you all for your support and your friendship we're really excited for Florida and excited to work with the folks up here."

"I'm going to try to not step on her dress," he also said, referring to Casey's triple-peplum red gown.

Some of the lyrics of the song, played by the band: "Here's to the winners."

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