a Blue State, Inaugural Tickets are Red Hot|
By Megan McIlroy
Capital News Service
Friday, Jan. 14, 2005
WASHINGTON - Marylanders may still be able to get free tickets to
see President Bush's inauguration Thursday -- if they have friends or
family in Guam.
"We advised constituents to ask relatives in distant states for
tickets," after the tickets allotted to Rep. Roscoe Bartlett,
R-Frederick, ran out, said Lisa Wright, his press secretary.
Like Bartlett, most members of Maryland's congressional delegation
said they long ago ran out of the hundreds of free inaugural tickets
that each office got to hand out to constituents.
Requests for tickets to the Jan. 20 swearing-in began arriving in
some offices as early as October, and most of the tickets were claimed
by Jan. 12.
Congressional staffers said Maryland's proximity to Washington
helped spark the rush for tickets.
House members each got 197 tickets to give away, and senators had
more than 300 tickets. Almost all of these tickets reserved standing
room on the Capitol lawn.
Even in a blue state like Maryland demand is high, although it
varied across the state. Bartlett's office is still getting hundreds
of ticket requests from his heavily Republican district, while
staffers for Rep. Ben Cardin, D-Baltimore, said they had only been
forced to turn away about a dozen people by last week.
Many offices doled out tickets to constituents on a first-come,
first-served basis. Bartlett and Cardin both started getting ticket
requests the day after the election, and handed them out in order
until the supply was gone.
Some offices said they gave out most tickets on a first-come basis,
but held some tickets in reserve for local government officials,
service members or organizations in their districts.
Rep. Chris Van Hollen, for example, gave a block of tickets to the
Congressional Youth Leadership Council, a group of exceptional
students who will be participating in a series of inaugural events
But the Kensington Democrat gave out most of his tickets through a
lottery. Staffers pooled the e-mail and phone call requests and pulled
the winning names Tuesday.
"We've received somewhere between 300 and 400 requests," said
Winston Sale, a Van Hollen aide.
Sen. Barbara Mikulski, D-Md., gave away more than 300 tickets,
starting Nov. 3. More than half of those tickets were for standing
areas. Her spokeswoman, Amy Hagovsky, said Mikulski gave her VIP seats
to active-duty military members, to an advisory board that helps her
with military academy appointments and to local Republican elected
While the congressional tickets are mostly gone, those willing to
pay for the privilege of seeing the swearing-in can buy them through
scalpers, who were asking for hundreds of dollars for tickets Friday.
Die-hard inaugural fans without that kind of money can still hope
to snag one of a few limited, general-admission standing room tickets
that will be released on the day of the inaugural -- although
binoculars will come in handy for the standing area far removed from
2005 University of Maryland Philip Merrill College of
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