Women are running for office in Texas at record numbers

ABC News' "Nightline" met with three women, who were first time candidates and could make history if they won.
7:16 | 03/06/18

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Transcript for Women are running for office in Texas at record numbers
Reporter: Judy CANALI still gets emotional thinking about the time a friend made her realize now is her time to run for congress. I thought I'm going to go for it. I'm going to go for it. And here I am. Sorry about this. No, it's okay. Reporter: She's part of the pink wave rolling through the heart of Texas. We came here ahead of tomorrow's primary. That's a nice welcome, good Texas welcome. Reporter: To meet these three women, first-time congressional candidates from both parties. They join roughly 50 other women facing off on the ballot Tuesday. The kickoff of the 2018 mid-terms. Coast to coast more than 400 women are running for congress. That's double the number that ran in 2016. With president trump's approval rating hovering around 40%, Texas is a key test for the Democrats. One of the critical issues driving these women, immigration. If the president is able to build that big beautiful wall that he wants, well, it would be felt here in this district unlike anywhere else because just in this one district there's 800 miles of border. That's 40% of the nation's border with Mexico just in this one district in Texas. Along the border in this vast congressional district that stretches from San Antonio to el Paso we meet Democrat Gina ortiz-jones. There's a lot more that we could be investing in in this district, in this country. Right? I'd rather be investing in smart healthy kids, not a smart wall. Reporter: She could be the first Iraq war vet, the first lesbian, and the first filipina-american to represent Texas. As a first generation American what do you make of some of the president's comments on immigration? It's unfortunate when the commander in chief does not understand, does not appreciate that we are a country of immigrants. We're all from somewhere else and we need to appreciate that and understand that that's I strength and that will continue to be a strength in this country. Reporter: A year ago Jones, a career civil servant, was working for president trump's administration. Today she's running against his agenda. I think we're being tested as Texans. We're being tested as Americans. Is this the kind of country you want to live in? Are these the type of leaders that reflect our values and the values of our great country? And I think the answer is we need a change. Reporter: Working the phones at her local campaign headquarters -- Early voting has started. Reporter: Jones says she considers herself part of the resistance. It can be surprising that the number of women running, the number of women of color rung. The people that have the most to lose. You cannot be surprised that they have stepped up and said you know what, I'm done assuming somebody is going to do that for me which I could do for myself. If Donald Trump had not been elected would you still be sitting in an office in Washington working for the administration? Potentially. Potentially. It's hard to ask that question because we're not in that situation. But I know, you know, what these times have called me to do, and this is it. So this district is basically a political seesaw. Right now it's being represented by a Republican. But in the presidential election it went for Hillary Clinton. This is the kind of place that Democrats are going to have to win if they have any hope of turning red states like Texas blue. Reporter: A few hours up the road in rural crystal city, candidate Canales is meeting with voters. I'm already the first female. There's actually two others that are running but I'm the only one that comes from over here, from this district. Reporter: She too is fed up with the trump administration. I almost hardly ever want to say his name. I cannot believe our country went in this direction. And so we've got to do something better. Reporter: She says the president's words about Mexican Americans and immigrants are too painful to ignore. I thought to myself, we're all Mexicans now. How dare he talk about my heritage and my community in that way is it. Reporter: Deeply proud of her heritage, she could be the first la tetina to represent Texas in Washington. I'm Latina, I'm bilingual, I speak Spanish and these are my roots. Very often how do I say this? They don't see women that look like you or talk -- Or talk like me. Reporter: Democrats are hoping female candidates will help flip the house come November. Early results already show an uptick in Democrats heading to the polls. But there are also plenty of conservative women running to support president trump. This is called a Meyer lemon. Reporter: We meet Dr. ALMA Arredondo lynch on her ranch. ??? where she sings to her beloved longhorns who diligently come when she calls. Come on, papa. Reporter: She's a proud cowboy hat-wearing Texan. A woman in a cowboy hat. What does that symbolize to you? Strength. Reporter: And conservative. She keeps a gun tucked behind every door. She says the current Republican representative will Hurd is not doing enough to support the president. If we get enough people that are conservatives like myself who have the passion in their heart, yes, we can shake up Washington. Do you think it's going to take more women to shake up Washington? Conservative women, yes. Reporter: On immigration she does not mince words. I believe in the wall. I really believe in the wall. A physical wall. And why do you think a physical wall is needed? Because if we don't have something to stop this illegal immigration, if we don't have a border we don't have sovereignty. We need to have sovereignty. If we don't have sovereignty, we don't have civility. And if you don't have civility, we don't have liberty. Reporter: Her message to the dreamers, those undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. As children, is blunt. I would want them to go back and enter the country like everybody else does. Line up. Deport them all. Deport them all. Deport them all. I just don't want them here. I want them to come and I want them to enter our country legally like everybody else. If you go well, that's mean spirited. I want to be mean spirited. You want to be mean spirited. Yes. Because for too long we've all kind of being the foster parent for all of these people other than the American people. When do we ever come first? We never come first. Reporter: Today in Washington a missed deadline to decide the fate of the roughly 700,000 dreamers, leaving them in limbo. Uncertain if they'll be deported. Over 100,000 are in Texas. Including community organizer Jessica Azua. There is a lot of uncertainty. I don't know what to do. I always try to be very positive. We don't know what's going to happen. It creates a lot of fear. And that's what we feel. So we've come across another stretch of the border here. As you can see, this river is all that's separating the U.S. From Mexico. And this is what people in Washington need to understand. What they don't understand that for so many here the border is quite literally their back yard. Reporter: The voters we met in Texas regardless of political party all agreed on one thing. Change is needed in Washington. Do you think Washington understands the concerns of voters like you? No. No. Probably not. No. No. Without hesitation. You have to be corrupt. You have to play their game. You think the whole system is corrupt? Yeah. Don't you? Reporter: For "Nightline" I'm Mary Bruce in San Antonio, Texas.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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