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TX-Sen: Beto O'Rourke signs go up in smoke outside the home of a Dallas suburb

Beto O'Rourke campaign signs were set on fire in Richardson, Texas. (Image source: Video screenshot)

Campaign signs for Democratic Senate candidate Beto O'Rourke were set ablaze Monday night outside a suburban home about 15 miles north of Dallas.

In a 30-minute span, Richardson police received three calls about the burning signs, officials told the Dallas Morning News. The first call came in at 11 p.m., followed by another at 11:06 p.m. and the third call was made at 11:28 p.m.

Also set on fire were campaign signs for Democrat Colin Allred, who's running against incumbent Pete Sessions (R) for the U.S. House of Representatives in Texas' 32nd Congressional District.

In all, five signs were burned. There were no injuries reported.

O'Rourke, who's trailing in the polls, is vying to unseat incumbent Sen. Ted Cruz in the Nov. 6 midterm elections.

What happened?

On Monday night, Chris Terry was reading when her dog started barking.

Soon after, a firefighter came to the door to tell Terry and her wife Michael Graffeo that their O'Rourke and Allred signs had gone up in smoke, along with some others nearby.

Terry told the Morning News that she's had a sign stolen from her yard in the past, but that the fires were shocking and upsetting.

"I want to draw a mustache on the Ted Cruz sign, but I won't, because the ability to support who you want to support is a pretty basic tenet of the architecture of our democracy," she said. "And it's private property — you don't just step in someone's yard and light their sign on fire.

The attack on her property was so troubling that it prompted her to make extra donations of $25 each to the Democratic campaigns of O'Rourke, Allred, lieutenant governor candidate Mike Collier and Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (N.D.).

She also signed up as a volunteer with Rideshare2Vote, an organization that gives voters a ride to the polls.

What did local party leaders say?

Missy Shorey, chairwoman of the Dallas County Republican Party, told the newspaper that burning campaign signs was "unacceptable" with along with a reminder "that harming signs is against the law, end of story."

And Dallas County Democratic Party chairwoman Carol Donovan said she had heard of signs being stolen, but not burned, adding that the fire showed more malice.

What else?

Richardson Fire Marshal Wesley Caskey said the department is still looking for the culprits who vandalized the signs.

A police spokesperson said that stealing or destroying campaign signs isn't unusual and that it's not a behavior specific to this election cycle. The suspects, if found, would likely face criminal mischief charges.

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