Former Texas state Senate hopeful says she was ‘tortured,’ robbed on Christmas Eve: Report

The Washington Examiner reported Tuesday that three individuals had been charged in connection with a vicious attack on a former GOP state Senate candidate who says she was “gagged, bound, tortured” on Christmas Eve.

According to the Examiner, Vanessa Tijerina, who ran and lost a bid for the Texas state Senate this year, described the incident during an emotional Facebook live video that showed her with a badly bruised — and swollen — face.

“They stole everything”

In the Facebook video, Tijerina claimed to have been lured to a motel in Raymondville, Texas, where she was beaten and robbed.

“They stole my car. They stole my money. They stole everything from me,” she recalled, according to the Examiner. Tijerina said her children’s Christmas presents were stolen, as well.

A former Democrat and 2016 Green Party congressional candidate, Tijerina had sought this year to represent Texas’ 27th state Senate district in the next legislative term. The sprawling area reportedly runs from Corpus Christi down to the U.S.–Mexico border.

Running as a Republican, Tijerina was defeated on Nov. 3 by Democratic incumbent Eddie Lucio, Jr., who garnered nearly 65% of the vote, according to USA Today.

Three suspects — Amanda Salinas, Ariel Vera, and Raymond Santana — have been charged and arrested for last week’s alleged assault and robbery against Tijerina, according to the Washington Examiner. Local authorities “could not be immediately reached for comment” by the outlet.

GOP at arm’s length

Tijerina has had several run-ins with the law herself, most recently in June of this year, when she was arrested after authorities discovered what they called “crack pipes” in her car, local ABC affiliate KRGV reported.

The former candidate was also hit with a felony charge for driving under the influence with a child passenger in the vehicle, and in 2016, she was accused of using fraud to obtain more than $73,000 in benefits through Medicaid and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), according to Texas’ KVEO-TV. She was also arrested in July for violating a protective order, KRGV reported.

The Texas Republican Party put out a statement in September condemning Tijerina and announcing that it would not be backing her candidacy.

“The Republican Party of Texas will not be providing any resources to the SD-27 candidate, Vanessa Tijerina,” the Texas GOP said. “Due to multiple arrests and shocking evidence of driving under the influence, using controlled substances, and endangering a child, we will not be supporting her campaign in any way.”

The statement added: “Ms. Tijerina’s behavior does not reflect the values of the GOP of Texas, and we do not wish to promote anyone of her character.”

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