Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson announced in a Wall Street Journal op-ed on Friday that he is leaving the Democratic Party to join the Republican Party.
Johnson, who assumed the mayorship in 2019, cited the need for metropolitan leaders to embrace “law and order and practice fiscal conservatism” as the main driver behind his decision to become a Republican.
“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 said.
“In other words, American cities need Republicans — and Republicans need American cities,” the mayor added. “When my political hero Theodore Roosevelt was born, only 20% of Americans lived in urban areas. By the time he was elected president, that share had doubled to 40%. Today, it stands at 80%. As America’s cities go, so goes America.”
As Fox News noted, Dallas experienced a drop in crime after Johnson took over as mayor. Speaking to the news outlet in 2021, the mayor attributed the decrease to his pro-police policies and “community buy-in” on actions to tackle crime.
“Gratuitously cutting police departments to send a political message contributed to crime starting to move maybe even faster in the wrong direction in Dallas and other places,” he said at the time. “But I stood pretty firm right away to the position against making cuts to our police department’s overtime budget or any other aspect of our police department just for the sake of cutting for political reasons.”
Some Texas political observers say that Johnson’s decision to become a Republican is yet another illustration of the issues still plaguing the Democrat Party in the Lone Star State.
“This is certainly a smart move for his career,” Vinny Minchillo, a Republican consultant, told the Texas Tribute. “If you want to stay in Texas politics, you want to have the ‘R’ by your name.”
Several high-profile Texas Republicans, including Gov. Gregg Abbott, took to social media to extend a warm welcome to Johnson.
“Texas is getting more Red every day,” Abbott tweeted. “He’s pro law enforcement & won’t tolerate leftist agendas.”