What's SoCal's interest in Trump inaugural tickets?

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As the Jan. 20 inauguration of President-elect Donald Trump approaches, Southern California congressional members have been entertaining requests for tickets to the historic event in Washington, D.C.

Each member of Congress gets about 200 tickets to give away to constituents, although the numbers can vary, according to media reports. Because requests typically exceed available tickets, many offices conduct lotteries to decide who gets to go.

But some California residents who expected to watch a President Hillary Clinton get sworn in this month have been cancelling their requests for tickets, according to some lawmakers’ offices contacted by KPCC. 

San Gabriel Valley Rep. Judy Chu’s office had about 100 people abandon their plans to attend the inauguration after Clinton's election loss, according to Benjamin Suarato, Chu's communications director. Nonetheless, he said their waitlist has about 60 people on it and continues to grow.

Other members of Congress expect to attend the Trump swearing-in themselves and report steady interest in the tickets from the public.

A representative for Republican Rep. Steve Knight whose district covers Antelope Valley said his office is giving out tickets on a first-come, first-served basis and has about 100 people on a waitlist. The requests began to outnumber the tickets available around Nov. 22. 

Mark Vafiades, regional vice chair for the California Republican Party, received a pair of tickets for himself and his wife from Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff’s office, which also reported demand exceeding available tickets. Schiff's district includes Burbank and Hollywood.

“Being there, being a part of it, that to me is exciting,” said Vafiades. He served as a spokesman for Trump’s campaign in Southern California and will be attending a presidential inauguration for the first time.

But at least one freshman congressman, Democrat Salud Carbajal representing the 24th District, which stretches from Paso Robles through Santa Barbara, said he’s not certain if he’ll be attending the event.

"At this point, I’m giving that consideration, but I haven’t made a final decision," Carbajal said. 

Carbajal, who was born in Mexico, has been a vocal critic of Trump and the president-elect’s stance on immigration. When pressed, Carbajal said there are major events in his district on the same day and he is still weighing whether to attend the inauguration instead. 

A fellow freshman Democrat, Los Angeles congressional member Nanette Barragan, sees it differently. "I will be attending the inauguration. I respect the office of the presidency," she said.

For those who live in Barragan’s 44th Congressional District, which includes North Long Beach and Compton, there’s still time to request tickets. Her office will hold a lottery in a few days. 

Those with tickets will be able to enter the grounds of the Capitol after passing through security checkpoints, while those without them can view the event from a section of the National Mall.

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