Democrats in Texas are fuming after the prominent mayor of a large city in the Lone Star State revealed a change in his partisan affiliation.
Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson announced on Friday that he was formally switching from the Democratic to the Republican Party, according to the Associated Press.
That makes Dallas the largest city in the United States with a GOP mayor, and in combination with the Republican mayor of neighboring Fort Worth, Mattie Parker, as well as the surrounding suburbs, largely solidifies the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex area as the largest GOP-controlled urban center in the U.S.
Mayor Johnson's announcement came in a Wall Street Journal op-ed published Friday that was titled, "America’s Cities Need Republicans, and I’m Becoming One," in which he wrote, according to Fox News, that "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," he continued. "In other words, American cities need Republicans -- and Republicans need American cities."
Fox News noted that while the Democratic mayors of other large Texas cities have embraced and supported the left's "defund the police" movement, Johnson championed law enforcement and public safety, worked closely in coordination with the local police, and has overseen a reduction in crime in the city while other Democrat-led areas in the state have seen crime rates rise.
The Texas Tribune reported that Johnson, before first being elected as mayor in 2019 -- he was just overwhelmingly re-elected in May -- served as a Democratic state legislator for nearly a decade. Yet, in his op-ed, Johnson revealed, "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."
"Mayors and other local elected officials have failed to make public safety a priority or to exercise fiscal restraint," he 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."
"Too often, local tax dollars are spent on policies that exacerbate homelessness, coddle criminals, and make it harder for ordinary people to make a living," Johnson added. "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."
Of course, Texas Democrats were incensed, though not entirely surprised, by the announced partisan switch of Mayor Johnson, as evidenced by statements issued by the leaders of the state and county-level Democratic Party organizations.
"Given his long-standing affinity with Republican leaders and ideology — like when he cozied up with longtime podcast host [Sen.] Ted Cruz at his inauguration this year — this announcement is neither surprising nor unwelcome," state party chair and vice-chair Gilberto Hinojosa and Shay Wyrick Cathey, respectively, said in a joint statement. "But the voters of Dallas deserved to know where he stood before he ran for reelection as Mayor. He wasn’t honest with his constituents, and knew he would lose to a Democrat if he flipped before the election."
"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," the duo added. "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."
"Today’s announcement by Mayor Eric Johnson is nothing short of an insult to the electorate. However, the people of Texas are not surprised," Dallas County Democratic Party Chair Kardel Coleman said. "This switch is the launch of a self-centered agenda that puts politics over people. Mayor Johnson has turned his back on the very voters who trusted that he would uphold our hard-fought Democratic values."
"Just last week, the Texas Republican Party proved its standing as a party of corruption and crime by voting not to impeach Attorney General Ken Paxton," he added. "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."