The Democratic Party of Orange County said its headquarters was vandalized with white nationalist propaganda over the weekend, in what a party official said was an attempt to intimidate voters just days before California’s presidential primary election.
Party officials said they reported Saturday’s incident to the Orange Police Department and will submit a hate crime report to the Orange County Human Relations Commission.
“It is clear that this vandalism is intended to intimidate and suppress voters. It will not work,” Democratic Party Chairwoman Ada Briceño said in a statement. “We stand united in the strongest possible condemnation of hate. We want to assure voters that intimidation is not tolerated.”
Photos from the scene show several stickers and placards placed around the party headquarters in the 1900 block of West Chapman Avenue in the city of Orange. One sticker shows a map of the United States with the caption, “Not stolen, conquered.” Other materials included the phrases “America First,” “Reclaim America,” “America is not for sale” and “Two Parties, One Tyranny.”
“At this point, it is being viewed as an act of vandalism,” said Orange police Sgt. Phil McMullin.
Fewer than a dozen stickers and placards were left in the area, according to party spokeswoman Rachel Potucek.
“They were placed at or near eye-level on doors and windows, very hard to miss — especially on most doors because there was no other signage, just a sticker right in the middle of the door,” she wrote in an email.
Party officials declined to name the organization identified on the materials “in order to minimize press attention that the group may receive,” but photos from the scene show the items advertised the website of Patriot Front — which the Southern Poverty Law Center has deemed a white nationalist hate group.
Patriot Front activists have been actively placing “promotional materials” across the country for weeks — including in California around Redwood City, Poway, San Marcos, Santa Ana, Temecula, Glendale and Vista, according to posts on the group’s Twitter account.
It’s unclear whether the Democratic Party of Orange County was targeted as part of this same effort, but pictures the group posted online show materials identical to those that were left at the headquarters.
McMullin also declined to name the group authorities suspect was behind the incident — “we don’t want to give them the free press,” he said — but asked anyone who may have information regarding the specific individuals involved to call the Orange Police Department at (714) 744-7444.