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'Selfish and cynical': Dallas County Dems call for Mayor Eric Johnson's resignation

The City of Dallas seal near city hall Wednesday, Aug 16, 2023, in Dallas.
Yfat Yossifor
Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson announced on Friday that he would "leave office as a Republican" in 2027. Dallas Democratic Party leaders say they aren't surprised by the decision — but want him out of office.

The Dallas County Democratic Party is calling on Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson to resign, just days after Johnson announced he would be switching political parties and leaving office “as a Republican” in 2027.

Johnson served for years in the Texas House of Representatives and was elected as a Democrat. Municipal government roles, including mayor, are officially nonpartisan — candidates for these local offices don't run as Democrats or Republicans and there's no party affiliation listed on the ballot.

In a press release on Tuesday, Dallas County Democrats say Johnson should step down because he misled voters to get reelected in May.

“He knowingly portrayed himself as a lifelong Democratic voter and representative throughout his re-election campaign for mayor. Now, less than four months after being re-elected to his final term in office, he has declared that he will govern the city as a Republican," the party’s statement said.

The statement went on to call Johnson's announcement a "selfish and cynical strategy" to advance his political career.

KERA emailed Johnson for comment, but he did not respond immediately.

Johnson announced his party switch in a Wall Street Journal opinion piece published on Friday. In the article, titled “America’s Cities Need More Republicans, and I’m Becoming One,” Johnson says he believes the country’s mayors and elected officials have failed communities by not prioritizing public safety and not practicing “fiscal conservatism.”

The Wall Street Journal opinion piece was published shortly after Johnson finished a one-on-one conversation at the Texas Tribune Fest, Friday morning. The session was billed as “the Dallas mayor on his second-term agenda and keeping partisanship at bay.”

Dallas County Democratic Party Chair Kardal Coleman rebutted Johnson's foundational argument in the Wall Street Journal opinion piece, that there is a need for more Republicans in local government, saying the Texas GOP has worked to undermine local governments' authority.

“[Johnson] is joining a party, specifically in our state legislature, that is working to strip local control away from municipalities,” Coleman told KERA. “He is weakening his position as mayor to join a political party that is antithetical to everything that the voters want, but also to his day-to-day job function.”

Still, Coleman said he was "not surprised" about Johnson's party switch, even if he was disappointed.

“Eric Johnson has not participated with the Dallas County Democratic Party in a number of years,” Coleman said. “We’ve not had any participation or communication with the mayor. We believe this is just a self-serving, self-seeking agenda the mayor is on.”

He's kept his distance from partisan politics for a while. He refused to endorse any candidate during his first term as mayor and is quoted in The Dallas Morning Newssaying “it’s important that we keep nonpartisan offices nonpartisan."

Johnson was elected to his second term in early May after securing 93% of votes. He ran against one official write-in candidate — while many voters wrote in other names. High-level Republicans welcomed Johnson's party switch.

KERA recently reported that Johnson has missed over 130 hours of city council meetings that weren’t excused by the city secretary, since being elected in 2019. That’s more than any other council member, including the eight who were elected at the same time as Johnson.

Beyond Dallas, Texas Democratic leaders also blasted Johnson's announcement.

“In a city that deserves dedicated leadership, Mayor Johnson has been an ineffective and truant mayor,” Gilberto Hinojosa and Shay Wyrick Cathey, Chair and Vice-Chair of the Texas Democratic Party said in a statement.

Got a tip? Email Nathan Collins at You can follow Nathan on Twitter @nathannotforyou.

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Nathan Collins is the Dallas Accountability Reporter for KERA. Collins joined the station after receiving his master’s degree in Investigative Journalism from Arizona State University. Prior to becoming a journalist, he was a professional musician.