CV NEWS FEED // In an op-ed for The Wall Street Journal, Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson announced that he changed his party affiliation from Democratic to Republican, citing his former party’s lax policies on crime and homelessness.
“I have been mayor of Dallas for more than four years,” Johnson wrote Friday. “During that time, my priority has been to make the city safer, stronger and more vibrant.”
“That meant saying no to those who wanted to defund the police,” he pointed out. “It meant fighting for lower taxes and a friendlier business climate. And it meant investing in family friendly infrastructure such as better parks and trails.”
“That approach is working,” the mayor added:
Alone among America’s 10 most populous cities, Dallas has brought violent crime down in every major category, including murder, year-over-year for the past two years. In a recent Gallup poll asking Americans to rate the safety of major cities, Dallas came out on top.
“Next spring, I will be voting in the Republican primary,” Johnson declared. “When my career in elected office ends in 2027 on the inauguration of my successor as mayor, I will leave office as a Republican.”
Johnson wrote that he realized his decision “will come as a surprise” to many:
During the decade I spent serving my hometown in the Texas House of Representatives, I was a Democrat in a Republican-controlled Legislature. I prided myself on finding common-sense solutions and worked closely with my conservative colleagues to improve policing, public education and water infrastructure.
I was never a favorite of the Democratic caucus, and the feeling was mutual. By the time I was elected mayor—a nonpartisan office—in 2019, I was relieved to be free from hyperpartisanship and ready to focus on solving problems.
“But I don’t believe I can stay on the sidelines any longer,” the Dallas mayor explained. He went on to highlight what he considers to be the distinction between Republican and Democratic ideals:
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.
“In other words, American cities need Republicans—and Republicans need American cities,” he wrote.
He pointed out that many cities are falling into disarray and argued that it is because urban Democrats view them as “laboratories for liberalism rather than as havens for opportunity and free enterprise.”
“Too often,” Johnson argued,
local tax dollars are spent on policies that exacerbate homelessness, coddle criminals and make it harder for ordinary people to make a living. 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.
Republican Texas Gov. Greg Abbott praised Johnson’s party switch on social media. “Texas is getting more Red every day,” he wrote, noting that the Dallas mayor is “pro law enforcement [and] won’t tolerate leftist agendas.”
Johnson was re-elected by a near-unanimous margin in May, receiving 98.7% of the vote, with only write-in candidates as his opposition. His campaign was endorsed by both Democratic and Republican leaders in the Dallas area.
Dallas is the ninth-largest city in the United States by population. Eight of the nine mayors of the other cities in the top ten are Democrats. San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg is a liberal independent.
Before Johnson’s party switch, the nearby Fort Worth was the largest city in the country with a Republican mayor. Although Abbott’s X post implied that it was among the top ten most populous U.S. cities, the most recent available data actually shows that Fort Worth is the 13th largest American city.
However, due to the massive rate of population growth in Texas, it could make an appearance in the top 10 by the 2030 census.
Fort Worth Mayor Mattie Parker was also re-elected by a landslide margin earlier this year.