Man arrested on suspicion of setting fire to Democratic Party headquarters in Phoenix

Police have arrested a man in connection with a fire set at the Democratic Party Headquarters in Phoenix, Arizona, last week. Officials announced on Wednesday that they had arrested 29-year-old Matthew Egler on arson charges that morning.

Authorities allege that Mr Egler set fire to the Democratic party headquarters in Downtown Phoenix after midnight on Friday 24 July. The blaze that was set caused “substantial damage to the building”, according to police.

In a press release, Phoenix Police Department attached a video of the crime taking place. The footage shows flames erupt from the building as a person walks away from the scene and gets into a parked car.

There were no injuries and no one was inside the building at the time of the fire, KPNX reported.

It wasn’t immediately clear if Mr Egler had legal representation or when he is scheduled to appear in court. He was arrested and booked on one count of Arson of an Occupied Structure, police said.

Arizona Democratic Party Chair Felecia Rotellini issued a statement following the arrest with Maricopa County Democratic Party Chair Steven Slugocki.

“We are deeply saddened and shocked by today’s news, but appreciate the swift action by law enforcement to ensure that the suspect is in custody,” Ms Rotellini said.

“This is a time for all Arizona Democrats to come together as friends and family. This unfortunate incident will not distract or deter us from achieving the goals we set in 2016. We remain committed to our mission to elect Democrats in November.”

The party also took to Twitter to reassure followers that they were unfettered by the setback, posting an image of a damaged room with flags that are largely undamaged.

“The flags are still standing and so are we. We’re ready to turn this state blue,” they wrote.

Campaigners are keeping a close eye on Arizona’s political landscape in the run-up to November’s presidential election as the state, which has historically been a safe Republican seat, will be crucial in the race for the White House and the Senate.

Democrat nominee Joe Biden currently holds a 5-point lead over President Donald Trump in the area, according to a new NBC News and Marist poll. However, Mr Trump’s supporters are said to be more enthusiastic than his rivals, according to the survey.

The opposition also seemingly holds a strong advantage in the key Senate competition, with the broadcaster reporting that Democratic candidate Mark Kelly holds a 12 point lead over Republican Senator Martha McSally in the same poll.

“With 11 electoral votes in play, the 2020 battle for the White House goes through the Sunbelt,” Lee Miringoff, director of the Marist College Institute for Public Opinion, told the outlet.

“Democrats also have a potential Senate gain given Mr Kelly’s wide lead over Ms McSally,” Mr Miringoff added.

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