(Bloomberg) -- Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson said he’s leaving the Democratic party to become a Republican, citing his commitment to law and order and fiscal conservatism and bucking a local shift away from the GOP.
“Local elected officials have failed to make public safety a priority or to exercise fiscal restraint,” Johnson wrote in a column in the Wall Street Journal. “Most of these local leaders are proud Democrats who view cities as laboratories for liberalism rather than as havens for opportunity and free enterprise.”
Home to 1.3 million people, the city is one of the 10 biggest in the US. Since Johnson was elected in 2019, he’s helped attract and benefited from companies relocating from higher-tax states to Texas, where there’s no state levy on income.
Just this month, Frontier Communications Parent Inc. announced it was moving to the city. Charles Schwab Corp. opened headquarters in the Dallas suburb of Westlake in 2021 after leaving California, and Caterpillar Inc. set up shop in Irving last year after leaving Illinois. Wells Fargo & Co. is building a new office tower in Irving and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. is building a new campus.
“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,” Johnson wrote in the opinion article. “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.”
The mayor’s office didn’t immediately return a call seeking comment.
Dallas County, where Dallas is the seat and by far the largest city, was a Republican stronghold decades ago when Texas itself was solidly Democratic. But while the state has since flipped into a solid GOP bastion, the county has become reliably blue. Joe Biden won about 65% of the 2020 presidential vote in the county over Donald Trump. Elections for Dallas municipal offices are nonpartisan.
--With assistance from Julie Fine.
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