A Democrat-run effort to raise funds for a firebombed GOP-campaign office in North Carolina is stirring a debate online.
The donations came after an unknown suspect threw a bottle filled with flammable liquid into the office, resulting in major damage to its interior, CNN reported. A nearby building was vandalized with the words “Nazi Republicans get out of town or else." No one was in the building at the time and no one was hurt.
In response, David Weinberger, a media and technology researcher at Harvard University started a GoFundMe page called "Dems Help Reopen a NC Repub Office."
The campaign aimed to collect $10,000 from Democrats to help the Republican office recover from the fire bombing.
The page exceeded the set goal in less than an hour.
Weinberger's GoFund Me page was praised on Twitter as an act of bi-partisan civility in a contentious political climate.
However the donation efforts have also earned backlash for supporting a party that has a history of anti-LGBT policies and discrimination against minority voters.
The backlash caused some people to withdraw their donations.
North Carolina has been at the center of a controversy about trans rights, after the state passed a discriminatory bathroom bill earlier this year. The law forces people to use the bathroom that corresponds with the gender on their birth certificate. The state has lost millions of dollars as sports teams and celebrities canceled events to protest the law.
The state also has a long history of voter suppression in minority communities, and was among the states subject to federal monitoring of election laws under the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
In the immediate aftermath of the Supreme Court's 2013 decision to overturn a provision of Voting Rights Act requiring federal monitoring, North Carolina implemented new voter ID requirements at the polls and ended early voting and same-day registration.
A federal court found that the changes to North Carolina election laws were intended to discriminate against black voters. A federal appeals court in July said that the state's changes to election laws “target African-Americans with almost surgical precision," according to The New York Times.
Given North Carolina's recent history, some Twitter users have suggested that the money sent to the state's Republican Party might be better spent elsewhere.