A perennial Republican House candidate whose doomed bids against Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) have become a cause celebre on the right was arrested Saturday on three felony charges.
Businessman Omar Navarro has leveraged his frequent campaigns against Waters to become a prominent voice on the far-right, earning more than $1 million in campaign contributions and the backing of Trumpworld figures like controversial former sheriff Joe Arpaio, former Trump adviser Roger Stone, and Ret. Gen. Michael Flynn.
Despite that support, Navarro lost both his 2016 and 2018 runs against Waters by more than 50 percentage points each. Faced with unanimous voter rejection, Navarro has chosen to run again in 2020. But now, he faces significant legal troubles related to alleged stalking of his ex-girlfriend.
San Francisco police arrested Navarro on Saturday night, after he was allegedly seen near ex-girlfriend DeAnna Lorraine Tesoriero’s apartment.
Tesoriero, a self-styled MAGA relationship expert who is running a quixotic congressional run of her own against Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), told The Daily Beast that she saw Navarro skulking outside her home late at night. Tesoriero said she then received a text from an unknown number with the message, “Bitch, I came to see you.”
“Clearly, he has a lot of screws loose,” Tesoriero told The Daily Beast. “I think a lot of this power has gotten into his head. He has a lot of money now from campaign donations.”
Tesoriero called the police, who arrested Navarro on three felony charges: felony stalking, criminal threats, and attempted extortion. Navarro is also facing a misdemeanor charge for allegedly violating a five-year restraining order Tesoriero received against him earlier this year after months of harassing text messages from Navarro.
In an interview, Tesoriero claimed that Navarro offered her money to marry him, threatened to leak her relatives’ addresses to left-wing antifascist “antifa” activists, and even threatened her pets.
“He would have stolen my cats,” Tesoriero said.
Navarro denied Tesoriero’s allegations and the charges against him, although he acknowledged to The Daily Beast that he was near Tesoriero’s apartment on Saturday night.
“Men in this country get treated unjustly, too, you have to acknowledge that,” Navarro said. “Just because a woman says something doesn’t mean it’s true.”
Navarro complained that, by calling the police on him, Tesoriero had violated Ronald Reagan’s “11th Commandment,” an often-cited GOP precept warning Republicans not to criticize one another publicly.
“Obviously she’s not honoring the 11th Commandment from Ronald Reagan,” Navarro said.
Tesoriero dated Navarro for a few months earlier this year, and once organized a testosterone-soaked “Tribute to Men” with him featuring various pro-Trump personalities like PragerU YouTube star Will Witt and former Pussycat Dolls singer Kaya Jones. But their relationship has soured since then, with Navarro getting in a confrontation with Tesoriero at a Washington, D.C. bar in the lead-up to a rally for the far-right Proud Boys men’s group.
The fallout from that fight cost Navarro many of his allies on the right, including the Proud Boys, a pro-Trump group of self-described “Western chauvinists” whose members have faced assault charges in New York and Oregon. Navarro responded by blasting the Proud Boys as the “joke boys.”
Navarro’s arrest is already reverberating on the right. On Sunday, the far-right blog The Gateway Pundit urged conservatives to distance themselves from Navarro.
“The last thing we need is behavior like this from our candidates,” the blog post read.
This isn’t Navarro’s first run-in with the law. In 2017, he was put on probation for putting a tracking device on his then-wife’s car.