Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson has switched from Democrat to the Republican Party amid his frustrations with crime, according to The Texas Tribune. In an op-ed published in The Wall Street Journal on Friday, Johnson wrote that he is changing his party affiliation and will be voting in the Republican primary next spring. In his article, Johnson outlined how his values align more closely with the Republican party citing support for law enforcement, low property taxes and “fostering a business-friendly environment.”
During his service as mayor, Johnson has backed anti-crime initiatives and worked closely with Dallas Police Chief Eddie Garcia. Some were reportedly not surprised at the party affiliation switch, including Rep. John Bryany (D) who wrote on X that he did not even know Johnson was a Democrat. Some of Johnson’s colleagues saw his announcement as a “clear sign” that he may plan on seeking higher office as a Republican.
Johnson’s priority, according to his op-ed, is public safety and exercising “fiscal restraint.” Johnson wrote, “Most of these local leaders are proud Democrats who view cities as laboratories for liberalism rather than as havens for opportunity and free enterprise.” Earlier this week, Johnson voted against the city’s proposed $4.8 billion budget for not cutting down the city’s property tax rate enough. Johnson explained that local tax dollars often get poured into “half-baked government programs that aim to solve every single societal ill.”
Calling out Democrats on their ability to make “good headlines” but not make “safer, stronger, and more vibrant cities,” has caught the attention of both Democrats and Republicans. Texas Governor Greg Abbott wrote on X “Texas is getting more Red every day,” adding “He’s pro law enforcement & won’t tolerate leftist agendas.” Texas House Speaker Dade Phelan, a Beaumont Republican, also welcomed Johnson to the Republican Party, writing “Mayor [Johnson] is absolutely right. Conservative policies are the key to safe, thriving, and successful cities. His leadership is a shining example of that. Great news.”
While Republicans are giving Johnson a warm welcome, Democrats were quick to condemn his action. Kardal Coleman, chair of the Dallas County Democratic Party, shared “It’s really unfortunate to see Mayor Johnson switch parties but also turn his back on the electorate that’s gotten him this far in his political career,” adding that “he’s choosing his personal ambitions over the good of the whole of Texas.”