Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson is switching sides.
The elected official announced he's leaving the Democratic Party to become a Republican, saying in an op-ed published in the Wall Street Journal Friday, "American cities need Republicans — and Republicans need American cities."
"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."
Johnson has been a Democrat his entire career in public office, spanning his five terms in the Texas House of Representatives and the last four years as mayor.
His approach thus far has included a focus on economic development and public safety, which he says many Democratic leaders overlook in the cities they lead as "laboratories for liberalism rather than as havens for opportunity and free enterprise."
He also said local Democratic leaders "insist on virtue signaling" and spend tax dollars on policies that "that exacerbate homelessness, coddle criminals and make it harder for ordinary people to make a living."
Johnson promised to continue his focus on his main goals of safety and low taxes.
The switch makes Johnson the only Republican mayor of the nation's 10 largest cities, which was welcome news to GOP leaders like Texas Gov. Greg Abbott who wrote on X, "Texas is getting more Red every day."
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
But even though its leader may have just turned red, Dallas itself doesn't seem like it will.
Dallas County voted for President Joe Biden 65%-33% over former President Donald Trump in the 2020 presidential election, and only about 20% of the county's 1.4 million registered voters are Republican.
This standing caused some to think Johnson's switch was a betrayal to Democratic voters who had just re-elected him, just for him to flip sides. Others weren't shocked.
Kardal Coleman, the chair of the Dallas County Democratic Party Chair, said the switch was an insult yet not surprising, saying, "That Johnson has the gall to join a party so blatantly opposed to the values of Dallas is an embarrassment not only to him, but to our community."
Gilberto Hinojosa and Shay Wyrick Cathey, the chair and vice-chair of the Texas Democratic Party, said in a statement the announcement is "neither surprising nor unwelcome" given his "long-standing affinity with Republican leaders and ideology."
"He wasn't honest with his constituents, and knew he would lose to a Democrat if he flipped before the election," the statement read. "In a city that deserves dedicated leadership, Mayor Johnson has been an ineffective and truant mayor, not only disconnected from Democratic values, but unable to even be an effective messenger for conservative local policy. This feeble excuse for democratic representation will fit right in with Republicans — and we are grateful that he can no longer tarnish the brand and values of the Texas Democratic Party."
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