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Saturday May 21st

McCrory addresses GOP office firebombing with visit to Hillsborough

<p>Governor&nbsp;Pat McCrory answers press questions and discusses the impact of the vandalism and firebombing incident on the upcoming election.</p>
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Governor Pat McCrory answers press questions and discusses the impact of the vandalism and firebombing incident on the upcoming election.

Gov. Pat McCrory visited the Orange County GOP headquarters in Hillsborough Monday to address the vandalism and firebombing that occurred at the office early Sunday morning. 

According to a statement from the town of Hillsborough, a bottle containing flammable material was thrown through an office window and ignited inside the building, causing damage. 

The N.C. GOP said in a statement the words "Nazi Republicans, leave town or else" were painted onto a building near their office. 

McCrory said he was thankful no one was hurt, but the damage was a clear act of intimidation.

“It’s incredible that you actually see the window and then to see the graffiti covered up on the next building,” he said. “I don’t know if they planned to have this building burned down, and that’s why they did it on the other building — the graffiti is another type of intimidation that is uncalled for.”

McCrory said he has asked the State Bureau of Investigation to help local authorities with the investigation.

“I want the local authorities to take this attack toward our democracy extremely seriously and hope they find the individuals or individual who did this,” he said.

According to the Hillsborough statement, town police, the Orange County Sheriff’s Office, the federal and state bureaus of investigation, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Secret Service are all contributing to the investigation. 

Dallas Woodhouse, executive director of the N.C. GOP, said the attack comes from a place of hatred and evil.

“This is political terrorism," he said. "Because the idea is to terrorize people from volunteering in Republican campaigns to help reelect Governor McCrory and our other candidates." 

Woodhouse said he hopes to relocate the headquarters to one of the vacant spots in the same complex where the original office was located. He said the office is temporarily operating out of a bus. 

“We’re most concerned about our volunteers — this has really shaken them up,” he said. 

McCrory said he was not made aware of the vandalism and firebombing until much later on.

“I think the local authorities frankly dealt with this for the first several of hours as an act of vandalism,” he said. “And this is much more than an act of vandalism.”

Regardless of the motive, there is no excuse for this type of violence and intimidation, McCrory said.

“This is the last place we want this to occur — in North Carolina or in the United States — and I take this very seriously,” he said. “I take this with the same seriousness as if this were my opposing party because we cannot have this type of interference with the democratic process.”

The N.C. Democratic Party said in a statement they condemn the attack. 

“Violence has no place in our political system,” the statement said. “We hope the perpetrators of this attack are brought to swift justice, and we are thankful that no one was hurt.”

Some N.C. Democrats and Independents leaning to vote for Democratic candidates created a GoFundMe page to raise funds to reopen the ruined Hillsborough office. Within 40 minutes, the page had met its goal of $10,000. 

Roy Cooper, N.C. attorney general and the Democratic gubernatorial candidate, expressed his disapproval of the attack on Twitter. 

Camilla Zapolsky, a resident of Hillsborough who visited the GOP office, said she thought the damage was horrific and appreciated the governor's visit. 

“I’m glad he came because this is an act of political terrorism, and it cannot be tolerated," she said. "These are the United States, we don’t do this.”

Roy Laughlin, a resident of Maysville, North Carolina, who visited the Hillsborough office said this attack will backfire against those who wished to do the Republican party harm. 

“They brought attention to us,and so maybe they didn’t realize they’re going to not only try and suppress us, but actually it’s going to highlight us all across the nation.”

McCrory said he does not want anyone to seek retribution as a result of this.

“That would be the worst thing that could happen is someone trying to retaliate in response to this act," he said. "That’s what they do in other countries, not in North Carolina, not in the United States."



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