Democrat-led campaign raises $13K to rebuild firebombed GOP headquarters

A Democratic-led crowdfunding campaign was launched Sunday in hopes of raising $10,000 to help rebuild the Orange County, North Carolina, headquarters of the Republican Party after the building was torched by a flammable device over the weekend and spray-painted with an anti-GOP slogan referring to "Nazi Republicans."

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Democrat David Weinberger and five others launched a GoFundMe campaign to help restore the party headquarters on Sunday. The fundraiser reached its $10,000 goal within 40 minutes of going public. The campaign was suspended after contributers donated more than $13,000.

On GoFundMe, Weinberger characterized the attack as un-American. He said the group who created the campaign is talking with officials in Orange County to try to determine how to provide the funding without breaking any election laws.

>> Related: North Carolina GOP headquarters firebombed

"As Democrats, we are starting this campaign to enable the Orange County, North Carolina, Republican office to reopen as soon as possible," Weinberger wrote. "Until an investigation is undertaken, we cannot know who did this or why. No matter the result, this is not how Americans resolve their differences. We talk, we argue, sometimes we march, and most of all we vote. We do not resort to violence by individuals or by mobs."

Orange County GOP chairman Daniel Ashley told reporters that no one had previously made violent threats against the office, which sits several miles from the town's historic square. The GOP office is several doors down from a shuttered ice rink in what was once a frontier-themed amusement park. It is now a retail complex known as The Shops at Daniel Boone.

The walls of the multi-room office were covered in black char on Sunday afternoon, and a couch against one wall had been burned down to its springs. Shattered glass covered the floor, and melted campaign yard signs showed warped lettering.

Hillsborough Mayor Tom Stevens said it was fortunate that the fire didn't burn the office and other adjacent, decades-old buildings to the ground.

Stevens, a Democrat, said the act doesn't represent the character of Orange County, which also includes much of Chapel Hill and the University of North Carolina campus. The town is about 40 miles northwest of Raleigh. 

Registered Democrats outnumber Republicans by a 3-1 margin in the county. In the 2012 election, voters chose President Barack Obama by a lopsided margin.

"I'd like to believe we aspire to respect hearing differing views," Stevens said in an interview. "This is very troubling."

Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton said on Twitter that the attack "is horrific and unacceptable."

Republican nominee Donald Trump blamed the act on Democrats in a tweet and also encouraged local Republicans, saying: "With you all the way, will never forget. Now we have to win. Proud of you all!"

Stevens said he wasn't aware of any leads on who might have planted the device.

Hillsborough police are investigating.

The Cox Media Group National Content Desk contributed to this report.

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