AP NEWS

Republican Party in Humboldt County, California, plagued by broken windows, ‘random’ vandalism

April 8, 2019

The random acts of vandalism against the Humboldt County Republican Party headquarters are starting to look less random.

The large storefront window on the main drag in Eureka, California, was shattered March 27 when someone threw a brick through the glass, marking the fifth time the office has been damaged or defaced since early 2018.

“I’m a retired police officer, and it’s been a little frustrating because the local police say, ‘Oh, it’s random vandalism,’ except it’s happened five times to us and nobody else,” said Humboldt County GOP Chairman John Schutt.

Last week, the California Republican Party launched a fundraiser to help the office pay for the damage, which has so far exceeded $2,000.

“Interesting enough, the Humboldt County Democrats have NOT had their office vandalized,” the California Republican Party said in its plea. “From Berkeley to Humboldt, conservatives who dare speak their mind are increasingly at risk for their safety.”

Republican National Committeewoman Harmeet K. Dhillon tweeted that “political violence is on the rise in our country, mainly targeting conservatives.”

Mr. Schutt said the party has yet to replace the “Humboldt County Republican Party” sign after it was defaced with black graffiti, at an estimated cost of $675. The party had already paid $700 to replace the storefront window after it was splintered last year by rocks.

“This is the second time the windows have been broken,” he said. “The other three times, it was everything from, they put stickers and things on the window and used cement glue underneath, so even using chemicals to remove them, it still left marks. Then they damaged our sign with paint and Sharpies.”

Humboldt GOP’s office was vandalized last week. Broken windows. Glass shattered throughout the floor. 5 times in 2 years the office has been attacked. That’s why are creating a fund to help rebuild their HQ. Please chip in whatever you can to help today: https://t.co/73rd8R9BsE pic.twitter.com/ZlKMEYfXFk CAGOP (@CAGOP) April 5, 2019

In “tolerant” northern California, this week the Humboldt County GOP headquarters on Main Street in Eureka, was vandalized for the fifth time in two years political violence is on the rise in our country, mainly targeting conservatives. #cagop #GOP #liberty #freedom pic.twitter.com/oXcqSCG6gw Harmeet K. Dhillon (@pnjaban) March 30, 2019

He said the party has also received threatening phone messages warning of future damage. While many commentators on social media have been sympathetic to the party’s plight, others have essentially said that the Republicans have no one to blame but themselves.

“Members of the public said we deserved it because we have a full-size cut-out of President Trump in the office,” Mr. Schutt said.

He said the incidents appeared to be timed to events such as last year’s Senate confirmation hearings for Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh. The latest window-breaking occurred shortly after Attorney General William P. Barr released to Congress the principal conclusions of the Mueller report.

Once a Republican stronghold, the coastal Northern California community near the Oregon border has become in recent years a progressive enclave, described by Mr. Schutt as “very far left and very politically aggressive.”

“We’re a good example of the country as a whole in terms of not being able to have a conversation,” Mr. Schutt said. “And we know what’s coming with the next presidential year.”

He said Eureka police have agreed to increase their patrols by the building. A camera posted on a local business caught video of the perpetrator on the night the window was broken, but the images were too fuzzy to identify the person.

Have Democrats had problems with vandalism? “None. None at all. I checked with them to be sure,” Mr. Schutt said. “Not any of the other businesses on our main street, either. That’s why the whole ‘random vandalism’ thing I’m like, OK.”

While nobody has been hurt so far, he said he worries about his party’s volunteers, given the office’s visibility along California’s Route 101.

“My only concern is that especially with the election coming up, we have a lot of elderly volunteers who are often here by themselves,” Mr. Schutt said. “I get more and more worried about that and just how far they’ll go, especially next year.”