Buncombe & Henderson – With well-calculated attacks on the Henderson County Republican Headquarters, Madison Cawthorn’s residence, as well as many signs and large billboards throughout Henderson and Transylvania counties, politics has turned ugly, mean, and violent in the last week.
The evidence of vandalism, trespassing and destruction of property can be seen throughout Hendersonville and Brevard. Looking at the extent of damage, one can only draw the conclusion that this was a well-planned, orchestrated group, who want to scare and intimidate their opponents and disrupt the United States’ democratic process. The billboards were very high off the ground, so the vandals must have had ladders to reach them with paint and brushes in hand, and many of the signs were made of strong thick plastic that was difficult to cut.
Much of what happened was late in the evening of October 9th and much can be seen on video cameras on the spot. People with hoodies came to the Hendersonville Republican Party Headquarters and painted over the Madison Cawthorn posters which were inside tacked onto the window. Nearby letters on huge billboards were cut out—changing Trump and Pence to Rump and Pence. Madison Cawthorn signs had his head cut out.
That same night in Brevard a billboard on Route 280 was blacked with swastikas painted on the Trump-Pence sign near the Brevard High school that had the slogan “Make America Great Again” —(also caught on camera) and near Mills River the Support Farmers, vote Republican billboard had swaths of black paint scratching out the word Farmers. Certainly, the GOP candidates in the 11th Congressional district were hit hard, and thousands of dollars worth of property were destroyed by lawless vandals that night.
For some months thousands of GOP signs have been stolen and/or defaced; bumper stickers on a person’s car were peeled off, obscenities get screamed out, and nasty emails are being sent by people who think bullying and intimidation is the way to win an election.
Merry Guy, Chairwoman of Henderson County Republican Party said: “I was saddened by the nature and amount of vandalism that took place sometime early Friday morning. It was clearly organized and well planned. I believe the lawlessness in neighboring cities has emboldened those on the left to ignore the laws and engage in both spontaneous illegal acts as well as premeditated destruction of private property. The only way to stop this is to vote for candidates who will enforce our laws and let the citizens live in peace. I think we all know those are the Republican candidates. That is why we were targeted.”
The Cawthorn campaign reported: “Reports were filed today with the Henderson County Sheriff’s Office and Hendersonville Police Department pertaining to overnight vandalism, trespassing and destruction of property at the home of Congressional candidate Madison Cawthorn and across the NC-11 Congressional district.”
Cawthorn, who is vying for the NC-11 District seat in the House of Representatives, said: “At 4:55 this morning, activists from far-left fringe Antifa groups acted on the aggressive rhetoric of my opponent and committed gross acts of vandalism and destruction of property across this district. My opponent’s strike force inflicted thousands of dollars of damage to both public and private property. The Henderson County GOP office, which was defaced with graffiti, many businesses, and local homes who displayed support for both my candidacy and other Republicans were attacked and their signs defaced.
“Personally, my home was targeted and my property vandalized by thugs acting in support of my opponent’s vision for this district. These left-wing enforcers spray-painted threats of violence and echoed my opponent’s words, as they symbolically crushed my neck and head on each sign deposited on my property. The most disturbing report about last night’s events involves my opponent refusing to denounce these acts of aggressive violence.”
Ruth Harris, chairwoman of the Transylvania County Republican Party said, “ “During this election season there are too many people who have forgotten that, in this country, everyone is allowed to express their political opinions freely and in whatever manner they please. We’ve had a high incidence of stealing and defacing signs. We’ve had people screaming obscenities at total strangers at the gas station and in the grocery store because they saw the wrong hat or bumper sticker. We’ve had attempts to destroy peoples’ livelihoods by sending out numerous emails in the community to “out” others for attending a fund-raiser for the opposing candidate. All of these actions and more are not only inappropriate in a civil society but they’re counter-productive. Such intimidation techniques may have worked in Venezuela, Castro’s Cuba, or the Soviet Union but in America, it just makes us more determined than ever to vote for our preferred candidate.”
“We had both sides of two large 4×8 Trump-Pence signs tagged with the same swastikas and several other flags and signs painted in this past week’s graffiti spree. Earlier we had another of the large signs completely cut out of its frame. Throughout the season we’ve had many signs stolen, some as many as five times. Some people put wildlife game cameras on their signs after the first sign was stolen.”
This aggressive violence is a threat to our community, the democratic process, and the American way of life.