At least 50 women running for Congress in Texas primaries, a record number
(NEW YORK) — Judy Canales, a Democrat and Latina in Texas, said she always wanted to run for Congress but President Donald Trump’s negative comments about Mexican Americans and immigrants, both on the campaign trail and in office, inspired her to do it.
“How dare he talk about my heritage and my community in that way,” Canales said.
She said a friend’s encouragement also helped her make the plunge. “To have someone actually point out to me who knew me, and say, ‘You can do it,’” Canales, wiping tears from her eyes, told ABC News’ Senior Congressional Correspondent Mary Bruce, “So I thought, ‘I’m good. I’ve got to go for it.’”
Canales is one of more than 50 women running for Congress in primaries in Texas on Tuesday, a record. That is in addition to the 110 Texan women seeking local office this election season, which is also a record for a conservative state that has traditionally swayed toward male representatives.
Of the state’s 36 congressional representatives, only three are women.
Nationally, 400 women have thrown their hats in the ring to vie for seats in Congress.
Canales is seeking her party’s nomination to challenge Republican Rep. Will Hurd in Texas’ 23rd district, which stretches from San Antonio to El Paso.
Another women in that race is Gina Ortiz Jones who a year ago was working for the Trump administration as a director in the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative. She left that position and decided to run as a Democrat after watching the president take actions she viewed as harmful to women and minority groups.
Ortiz Jones, an openly gay veteran whose mother immigrated from the Philippines 40 years ago, told Bruce that no one should be surprised by the increase in female candidates.
“They have stepped up and said, ‘You know what? I’m done assuming somebody is going to do for me that which I can do for myself.’” said Ortiz Jones.
Alma Arrendondo-Lynch, a dentist and rancher, also wants to represent Texas’s 23rd Congressional District, but as a Republican. She is mounting a primary challenge against Hurd, whom she said has been too soft on social issues and immigration. She said Republicans in Congress need to do more to back Trump.
“If we get enough people that are conservatives like myself who have the passion in their heart, yes, we can shake up Washington,” Arrendondo-Lynch said.
ABC News will be covering some of the most anticipated midterm elections as part of its ‘18 for 18’ midterm coverage. ‘18 For 18’ is ABC News’ powerhouse political coverage of the 2018 midterm elections. To stay up to date, visit ABCNews.com and the ABC News app, and follow our midterm elections alerts.
Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.