UPDATE: Eureka Police Arrest Suspect in Weekend Vandalism of Republican Party Headquarters

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Original Post: As political tensions rise throughout the country, here locally the Humboldt County Republican headquarters had its front windows and glass door smashed and an unknown liquid poured throughout the entryway at around 5 this morning. John Schutt has been the Republican Party chairman for Humboldt County for the last three and a half years and told the Outpost that he received a phone call from the alarm company earlier this morning. 

“This is the sixth time this has happened to us in the last two years,” Schutt said.

When Schutt arrived on scene, the Eureka Police Department had already apprehended a suspect. According to Schutt, EPD said the man will be facing multiple felony charges including arson and burglary. In a video provided to the Outpost, you can see the suspect pour some sort of liquid inside the building. Schutt said he was not sure what the substance was, but that EPD collected some of it for further testing.

Schutt was also told that once EPD arrived on scene, they had an altercation with the suspect that involved the man throwing a bicycle at the police officers. Although the suspect was not able to get inside, Schutt said this is the worst damage the Republican headquarters has faced during his tenure as the chairman. He also said they face harassment on a near daily basis.

“Pretty much every day we come in we have had someone leave us threatening phone calls,” Schutt said. He went on to say that the calls come mostly from one person and that they sometimes call up to nine times a day. 

Although he doesn’t fear for himself, Schutt said that he is concerned about the level of vandalism this time and worries about his volunteers.

Facebook Post from the Humboldt GOP Facebook page

“With the attempted arson thing, I know it will have our volunteers pretty scared,” he said.

Schutt grew up in Napa County and moved to Humboldt to attend Humboldt State in the early 90s. He has been a member of the Republican party for most his life and said that he started the College Republicans club at HSU in 1990. Schutt’s core political beliefs keep him tied to the Republican Party.

“The biggest thing is the size of government and what the government’s role is in life,” Schutt said. “That’s the biggest issue that keeps me a Republican and the second would be taxes.”

Schutt chalked up the vandalism at the headquarters to a growing political divide in this country. He said that he doesn’t necessarily think the vandalism is tied to the recent impeachment trials because of prior vandalisms, but he is concerned about the coming days.

“I really fear for what the rest of the year is going to look like,” Schutt said. “It is going to be an ugly election.”

At around 10:30 this morning, a man named Scott Carns stopped by the Republican headquarters. Carns, 49, has been a Republican since he was 18. He was surprised about the recent vandalism. He said it was “bullshit” and was disappointed because “Democrats are supposed to be about unity and this is what happens.”

Humboldt Republican headquarters. Photo by Freddy Brewster

“I don’t know where all the anger and rage comes from,” Carns told the Outpost. He went on to say that he has a brother and sister that are Democrats and the differences in their opinions are what “makes America great.”

“We are a divided nation right now, but we are supposed to be united,” Carns said. 

In order to get past the current political divide, Schutt said that people should essentially learn to disagree. He said that politics should not be an “us versus them” issue and that “it is perfectly fine to disagree with one another.” He also that we as a society are essentially just pawns being used in the political game.

“The reality is, neither side’s politicians care about them or people, period,” Schutt said. “So once we can all realize that and understand that we are being used in these games.”


ADDENDUM 2:05 p.m.

A statement from the Humboldt County Democrats reads as follows:

The Humboldt County Democratic Party must once again condemn all forms of political violence, most immediately, that directed last night toward Republican Headquarters in Eureka. There can be no place in our community for such actions.Democracy requires a free exchange of ideas. Actions that constrain such free exchange undermine our Democratic system and play directly into the hands of those whose goal is to sow discord among the American people, most sadly, those of the man who currently occupies the presidency.

Disappointment with the failure of the Republican majority of the U.S. Senate to provide a fair impeachment trial is understandable. Frustration with an administration that is bent on favoring the one percent at the expense of the ninety-nine percent is real. Fear of policies that deny the climate crisis is just plain common sense. But, breaking windows is not going to address any of these.

Fortunately, we have a remedy. The California Presidential Primary Election is twenty-four days away. Those who truly wish to participate in making political change should get involved. Contact Democratic Headquarters at 445-3366 for contact information for the major Democratic presidential campaigns.

Republicans are not our enemies. They are our fellow citizens. Any attempt to silence the voices of one group of Americans is an assault on us all. As Justice William O. Douglas wrote, “The liberties of none are safe unless the liberties of all are protected.”