Local Politics

Scoring inauguration ticket a tough act

Posted December 18, 2008 5:43 p.m. EST
Updated December 18, 2008 7:18 p.m. EST

— After making history last month by electing the nation's first African-American president, thousands of North Carolina residents want to be part of history next month when he is sworn into office.

Thousands of people have put in requests for the hundreds of available inauguration tickets, making getting one almost as hard as getting into the Atlantic Coast Conference basketball tournament.

"No one has ever seen interest like this for any event in Washington," said Ryan Hedgepeth, a spokesman in 13th District Congressman Brad Miller's office.

Miller's staff had to institute a lottery to distribute the tickets he's allotted as a congressman because the volume of requests was so overwhelming, Hedgepeth said.

"Every congressional office gets less than 200 tickets. It's usually not a problem to distribute them, but this year, we had an unprecedented demand for tickets. We had well over 4,000 people contact our office," he said.

Other area politicians said they faced a similar onslaught of requests for the inauguration.

Miller's office has started contacting the lottery winners, and Lindy Brown, a member of the Wake County Board of Commissioners, is eagerly waiting to see if she made the cut.

"It's a historical time in our life, and as an African-American, he represents the epitome of the struggles many African-Americans have had over the last several decades," Brown said. "To witness something firsthand will be more life-worthy, something that I can tell my grandkids, something I can send onto their grandkids as well."

The Secret Service doesn't want inauguration tickets sent through the mail, Hedgepeth said, so people who are notified that they have tickets will likely have to pick them up in Washington a few days before the Jan. 20 event.