The mayor of Dallas announced that he is switching to the Republican Party, according to an opinion article he wrote Friday.
"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," he continued, adding: "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 added: "I have no intention of changing my approach to my job. But today I am changing my party affiliation. 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."
Over the years, Mr. Johnson has been supportive of police amid calls to defund departments across major Americans cities that tend to be dominated by Democrat officials. First elected 2019, the mayor was elected to a final term in office in May, receiving 93 percent of the vote as he was the only candidate for mayor on voters' ballots.
"Unfortunately, many of our cities are in disarray," Mr. Johnson wrote. "Mayors and other local elected officials have failed to make public safety a priority or to exercise fiscal restraint. Most of these local leaders are proud Democrats who view cities as laboratories for liberalism rather than as havens for opportunity and free enterprise."
In those cities, tax dollars are often spent on programs that have little impact or even exacerbate the problem they're trying to solve, he argued. They instead increase homelessness and "coddle criminals," while making it harder for "ordinary people to make a living."
"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," Mr. Johnson wrote.
The mayor, however, said that his switch to the GOP is "hardly a red wave" among top U.S. cities. The nine other largest American cities are run by Democrats, he noted.
"But it is clear that the nation and its cities have reached a time for choosing," he wrote. "And the overwhelming majority of Americans who call our cities home deserve to have real choices---not 'progressive' echo chambers---at city hall."
Technically, Mr. Johnson's mayoral position is nonpartisan. However, he's long been a Democrat and belonged to the party when he previously served in the Texas Legislature.
ReactionsRepublican Texas Gov. Greg Abbott celebrated Mr. Johnson’s decision to join GOP on Friday.
“To my friend and former colleague, welcome to the Republican Party!” Texas House Speaker Dade Phelan, a Republican, wrote on X. “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.”
Mr. Cornyn, meanwhile, shared Mr. Johnson's Wall Street Journal op-ed on his official social media accounts.
But for some Democrats, Mr. Johnson's switch to the GOP came as little surprise.
The move would potentially put Mr. Johnson at odds with many voters in Dallas, which is a solidly Democratic city and who voted heavily in favor of Joe Biden in 2020.
“I don't believe that it sets the tone for where the priorities are,” Dallas City Council Member Adam Bazaldua told the Texas Tribune on Friday. “In fact, that's why I believe it would have been nice for voters to have the opportunity of knowing that party affiliation prior to going to the ballot box in May.”