On Friday, the mayor of Dallas, Texas, announced in an opinion piece for the Wall Street Journal that he was leaving the Democrat Party and switching his affiliation to Republican.
In the op-ed, Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson (D) declared that “American cities need Republicans — and Republicans need American cities.”
Johnson is a longtime member of the Democrat Party, having served in the Texas legislature for nine years before being elected mayor in 2019. However, he has decided to leave the party — as their views no longer align with his. Johnson’s position is technically nonpartisan, but his decision to leave the Democrat Party makes Dallas the second major city in Texas to be led by a Republican-affiliated mayor — alongside Fort Worth, according to the Texas Tribune.
“I have no intention of changing my approach to my job. But today I am changing my party affiliation,” Johnson wrote. “Next spring, I will be voting in the Republican primary. When my career in elected office ends in 2027 on the inauguration of my successor as mayor, I will leave office as a Republican.”
He went on to explain that “law and order” and “fiscal conservatism” are key reasons behind his decision to switch parties — arguing that the Republican Party was better equipped to lead Dallas and other American cities in the future. This comes as the city has faced a rise in violent crime recently amid a staffing shortage at the Dallas Police Department in the aftermath of the 2020 George Floyd riots and resulting anti-police sentiment.
“I don’t believe I can stay on the sidelines any longer,” Johnson wrote. “I have always tried to be honest and say what I think is right for my city. The future of America’s great urban centers depends on the willingness of the nation’s mayors to champion law and order and practice fiscal conservatism. Our cities desperately need the genuine commitment to these principles (as opposed to the inconsistent, poll-driven commitment of many Democrats) that has long been a defining characteristic of the GOP.”
Johnson also pointed out that Democrat policies have caused “disarray” in blue cities across the U.S. — including places like New York City, Chicago and Philadelphia, which have been experiencing skyrocketing violent crime.
“Mayors and other local elected officials have failed to make public safety a priority or to exercise fiscal restraint. Most of these local leaders are proud Democrats who view cities as laboratories for liberalism rather than as havens for opportunity and free enterprise,” he explained.
“Too often, local tax dollars are spent on policies that exacerbate homelessness, coddle criminals and make it harder for ordinary people to make a living,” Johnson added. “And too many local Democrats insist on virtue signaling — proposing half-baked government programs that aim to solve every single societal ill — and on finding new ways to thumb their noses at Republicans at the state or federal level. Enough. This makes for good headlines, but not for safer, stronger, more vibrant cities.”
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) celebrated Johnson’s decision in a post on X, formerly known as Twitter.
“Texas is getting more Red every day. Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson switches to Republican Party,” Abbott wrote. “He’s pro law enforcement & won’t tolerate leftist agendas. Two of the 10 largest cities in America now have Republican Mayors & they are both in Texas.”
Texas is getting more Red every day.
Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson switches to Republican Party.
He’s pro law enforcement & won’t tolerate leftist agendas.
Two of the 10 largest cities in America now have Republican Mayors & they are both in Texas. https://t.co/Qn9SM7UZ1G
— Greg Abbott (@GregAbbott_TX) September 22, 2023