In an effort to help the Republican Party of Orange County, David Weinberger, a Democrat from Boston, created a GoFundMe campaign to raise money in hopes of helping the party after the incident. With a goal of $10,000, the campaign raised $12,882 in donations from people across the country within 40 minutes.
Weinberger said he was inspired to create the GoFundMe to help preserve democracy.
“We were horrified by the firebombing and we wanted to do something to express our outrage and commitment that we share with all Americans to preserve democratic process,” Weinberger said. “I read a tweet by a friend that suggested that the Democratic party ought to offer to share a place with the displaced Republicans in Orange County.”
Weinberger said he and a group of friends came up with the idea for a GoFundMe campaign and they have received positive feedback from around the country.
“We’ve mainly received a very positive response — some people are very bothered by giving money to a party that they strongly disagree with, especially with the controversy surrounding the N.C. GOP in particular,” Weinberger said. “Because we are Democrats we wanted to reach across the aisle and say that all Americans of all parties cherish the democratic processes above party differences. Sometimes it’s good to remember we are all Americans.”
Dallas Woodhouse, North Carolina GOP executive director, said the firebombing was not only expensive, but also costly for the party’s progress in the ongoing election.
“The costs to the party have been incalculable across the state — it has scared away our volunteers, it has taken our focus away from getting people out to vote for Republicans — it was an attack on all freethinking people,” Woodhouse said. “The cost monetarily was significant, but it’s more the lost focus of time and energy that matters for all Republicans — many people in offices across the state are now concerned for their lives because this was an accident that could’ve killed someone.”
The Orange County Republican headquarters has not received the money yet due to the complicated political donation process, but Woodhouse said they are thankful for the gesture.
“We had some people want to make sure that the money was not for campaign purposes for Democrats,” Woodhouse said. “I thought it was very kind — within a small period of time, we saw both the worst and the best in people.”
Tyler Brooks, attorney for Weinberger from Millberg Gordon Stewart law firm in Raleigh, said the donations must be approved by the State Board of Elections before going to the Orange County Republicans. He said it is anticipated that all money will go toward the costs of relocating the office without any leftover donations.
Nancy Oates, a registered Democrat and member of the Chapel Hill Town Council, said she was glad no one was hurt during the firebombing.
“Once I realized that no one was hurt, I was very upset that we had sunk to this level,” Oates said. “I like to think that Democrats and ideally Republicans too would remember when Michelle Obama said, ‘When they go low, we go high,’ and it was disappointing to me to think that Democrats could be responsible for this tragedy. I’m really glad they had time to reopen the headquarters to make one last push — I want them to have the opportunity for a fair election.”
Randee Haven-O’Donnell, member of the Carrboro Board of Aldermen, said she was concerned for the country and hoped people would remember that both Republicans and Democrats are Americans.
“It’s anti-American and anti-democracy,” she said. “We are all Americans and there is no party when it comes to democracy. We should respect and stand for each other all of the time — that is the promise of America and I don’t know any other place on Earth in which that is coveted.”