Tech Writers Raise Funds To Repair Damage at GOP Office in North Carolina

Group of writers ‘horrified’ by vandalism in spite of disagreement with Republican Party policies

A burned couch is shown next to warped campaign signs at the Orange County Republican Headquarters in Hillsborough, N.C. on Sunday.
A burned couch is shown next to warped campaign signs at the Orange County Republican Headquarters in Hillsborough, N.C. on Sunday. PHOTO: JONATHAN DREW/ASSOCIATED PRESS

Updated Oct. 17, 2016 12:01 p.m. ET

RALEIGH, N.C.—A group of prominent tech writers and bloggers raised $13,117 in a crowdsourcing campaign on Sunday to help repair the firebombed and vandalized Republican headquarters in Orange County, N.C.

David Weinberger, a technology writer at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University, said he and several colleagues were horrified by the vandalism and wanted to “go high” in response.

“Even though we disagree thoroughly with the Republican Party on most things, and with the North Carolina Republican Party especially,” Mr. Weinberger said, “that only made it seem like a better occasion to try to get past the political differences and to remember the democracy that unites us all.”

Mr. Weinberger said he has no connection to North Carolina, but was aware of a recent rightward swing in state politics, including a law requiring transgender people to use the public bathroom corresponding to the sex on their birth certificate.

A fundraiser passed its goal of $10,000 in 40 minutes, and was closed, Mr. Weinberger said. Organizers include blogger Jeff Jarvis and author Clay Shirky, who have written about the ability of the internet to unite. They asked donors still wanting to help in North Carolina to donate to teachers seeking classroom supplies instead.

State GOP executive director Dallas Woodhouse said the party is grateful for the “amazing response” from many groups. “I know people on all sides of the political spectrum condemn the attacks on our volunteers, staff, Gov. (Pat) McCrory and all our other candidates,” he said.

The headquarters building was damaged late Saturday or early Sunday when flammable material contained in a bottle was thrown through the front window, according to a release from the town of Hillsborough. Graffiti included a swastika and the words “Nazi Republicans leave town or else.”

The fire damaged furniture and the structure’s interior, though no one was hurt, Hillsborough officials said.

The Hillsborough Police Department said it is continuing to process evidence from the scene, with help from the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and other law enforcement agencies.

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump tweeted Sunday that he held his Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton, and Democrats in general responsible. “Animals representing Hillary Clinton and Dems in North Carolina just firebombed our office in Orange County because we are winning,” he wrote on Twitter on Sunday. Mrs. Clinton tweeted that the attack was “horrific and unacceptable.”

Write to Valerie Bauerlein at



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