A North Carolina Republican Party office in Orange County has been the target of a firebombing, with the text "Nazi Republicans" painted on the side of a nearby building, officials say. There were no reports of injuries.
The incident happened on late Saturday night or early Sunday morning when a bottle of flammable liquid was thrown through one of the windows at the Orange County GOP headquarters in Hillsborough. The fire caused major damage to the interior but extinguished itself.
A business owner discovered the scene on early Sunday morning and notified police just before 9 a.m. A threatening message was spray-painted in black on the side of a nearby building, saying: "Nazi Republicans, leave town or else". It was accompanied by a swastika.
No arrests were immediately made but the Hillsborough Police Department has launched an investigation into the attack. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) has also joined the investigation.
North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory condemned the incident as "an attack on our democracy", adding that "violence has no place" in our society. "I will use every resource as governor to assist local authorities in this investigation," he said.
Dallas Woodhouse, the executive director of the North Carolina Republican Party, called the firebombing a hideous attack. "Whether you are Republican, Democrat, or Independent, all Americans should be outraged by this hate-filled and violent attack against our democracy," he said.
Woodhouse added: "Whether the bomb was meant to kill, destroy property, or intimidate voters, everyone in this country should be free to express their political viewpoints without fear for their own safety."
As a result of the attack, the North Carolina Republican Party will request additional security at all Republican Party offices and events between now and Election Day. "We will not be deterred by this hate crime," Woodhouse said.
Hillsborough Mayor Tom Stevens also condemned the attack. "This highly disturbing act goes far beyond vandalizing property; it willfully threatens our community’s safety via fire, and its hateful message undermines decency, respect and integrity in civic participation," he said in a statement.