Elections 2022State HouseCapriglione Draws Challenger in Republican Primary for Texas House District 98

Rep. Giovanni Capriglione is being challenged by Mitchell Ryan, who is campaigning against the incumbent from the right. Capriglione's conservative ranking has dropped since he was first elected in 2012.
February 16, 2022
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Republican incumbent Giovanni Capriglione (R-Southlake) has drawn an opponent in the primary race to represent House District 98 in the Texas House of Representatives.

Mitchell Ryan has lived in the district all of his life and believes he can help provide more conservative leadership to the constituents of the area.

“I differ from my opponent in that I am not beholden to the special interests primarily funding his campaign,” Ryan told The Texan in an interview. “I have a proven record of carrying the banner of conservative values when it’s not convenient, but it’s the right thing to do, and that’s what I’ll do in the Texas House.”

Capriglione was first elected in 2012 after running against moderate Vicki Truitt in the Republican primary. In his initial term, he was ranked among the top five most conservative legislators. After the 2021 legislative term, he had dropped to 47th out of the 82 Republicans in the chamber in a ranking by Rice University professor Mark P. Jones.

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Despite this, he still received the endorsement of the Texas Home School Coalition and the National Rifle Association. Texas Right to Life gives him a 100 percent rating on their legislative scorecard.

During the 2021 regular legislative session, Capriglione authored a “trigger ban” bill that passed both chambers of the Texas legislature and was signed into law. It is intended to outlaw abortion if the United States Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade. 

His bill to ban homeless camping statewide was also passed and signed into law, authored in response to the City of Austin’s progressive policies. 

The incumbent opposed a GOP-backed bill that aims to stop censorship by social media companies, calling it “nonsensical on its face.” 

Ryan has been involved in Republican and conservative politics for about eight years. 

He got into the race because he believes “our constitution is hanging by a thread and our rights are being chipped away.” 

Among his top issues are border security, critical race theory and education, and “coronavirus overreach and hysteria.”

Regarding border security, Ryan is concerned by the record number of crossings. “I’d like to see a wall, but more importantly, I want to see zero illegal border crossings,” he said. He endorses the gubernatorial candidate Don Huffines’ border plan, including removing illegal aliens, using E-Verify to make it harder for illegal aliens to work, and putting economic pressure on countries and companies undermining U.S. sovereignty.

Ryan says he has been fighting at the school district level since 2018. He wants to “eliminate critical race theory and social and emotional learning by giving parents tools to fight it.” For example, he suggested a trigger mechanism to force items to be put on the agenda, like a definition of “inclusion,” which can otherwise be amorphous. 

Last year, Ryan filed a lawsuit against Grapevine-Colleyville ISD alleging that its policies about comments during public comments at board meetings violate his First Amendment rights. While the board will allow speakers to name employees if they speak in support of them, it forbids speakers from criticizing any employee by name.

A third major issue in Ryan’s campaign is fighting what he calls “the coronavirus overreach and hysteria.” He has a plan to end vaccine mandates that includes “Employers over 100 employees, or government entities, that fire employees or contractors for not getting vaccinated will be compelled to pay the salary and benefits of the terminated employees or contractors until they get another job (with no expiration date).”

Capriglione’s campaign website lists some of the issues he cares about: fiscal discipline, supporting pro-life policies, and stopping illegal immigration.

According to state filings, Capriglione has raised $36,450 to Ryan’s $1,981.  

Early voting began on February 14 and Election Day is March 1.

Capriglione did not reply to multiple requests for an interview.

Correction: A previous version of the article incorrectly stated that Capriglione was endorsed by Texas Values. We regret the error.

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Kim Roberts

Kim Roberts is a reporter for the Texan in the DFW metroplex area where she has lived for over twenty years. She has a Juris Doctor from Baylor University Law School and a Bachelor's in government from Angelo State University. In her free time, Kim home schools her daughter and coaches high school extemporaneous speaking and apologetics. She has been happily married to her husband for 23 years, has three wonderful children, and two dogs.