A former Democrat, Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson is now a Republican, making Dallas the largest city in the nation to have a Republican as mayor.
“Today I am changing my party affiliation,” Johnson wrote in an op-ed published Friday in The Wall Street Journal. “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 spent nine years as a Democrat in the Texas Legislature before being chosen as the mayor of Dallas in 2019. Although the office of mayor is nominally nonpartisan, Johnson is one of just two Republican mayors of significant Texas cities, the other being Mattie Parker of Fort Worth.
Political watchers in Dallas said Johnson had been indicating for some time that he was leaning toward the GOP and staying away from Democrats, so his turn didn’t come as much of a surprise.
“This is one of the worst kept secrets in the world of politics,” said Vinny Minchillo, a Dallas-area Republican consultant. “This has been coming down for a long time.”
Dallas Democrat and state representative John Bryant poked fun at Johnson’s declaration on the social networking site X, formerly known as Twitter.
H“Switching parties? I didn’t know he was a Democrat,” Bryant wrote.
Johnson said in his op-ed that his vision for Dallas is in line with that of the GOP, citing his support for police enforcement, cheap property taxes, and building an atmosphere that is conducive to business.
Johnson has avidly supported anti-crime programs during his time as mayor and has forged a close relationship with Dallas Police Chief Eddie Garcia. After splitting the Dallas Police Association, the city’s police union, and the city’s business donor class, which frequently leans Republican, he was reelected in May without any opposition.