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The national organization championing all things GOP is celebrating Black History Month in part by crowning a career-long Democrat who only recently switched political affiliations as a “trailblazer” within the Republican Party.

Eric Johnson wins the Republican National Committee’s ‘Trailblazer Award’

In particular, Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson — who won reelection in May as a Democrat — is set to have the Republican National Committee’s (RNC) “Trailblazer Award” bestowed upon him at the12th annual Black Republican Trailblazers ceremony Tuesday in Washington.

The RNC said in a press release announcing the ceremony that the award is reserved for those “Black Republicans who have made significant contributions” to the Republican Party.

The Trailblazer Award — recognized as the event’s “signature award” — is given to “an individual who has been an exceptional leader in the Republican Party through advancing conservative legislation, helping to elect Republicans, or growing the Republican Party,” the press release added.”

Johnson became a Republican just six months ago.

Eric Johnson the Republican

Here’s what we do know about Johnson and his affiliation with the Republican Party.

Dallas’ second-ever Black mayor announcement in the Wall Street Journal op-ed in September that he was switching to the Republican Party and suggested it was because of the “inconsistent, poll-driven” political environment he worked in as a Democrat.

“I have no intention of changing my approach to my job. But today I am changing my party affiliation,” Johnson wrote in the op-ed. “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’s primary rationale in the op-ed for switching parties seemed to be that he believes that urban centers like Dallas need Republican mayors.

“American cities need Republicans—and Republicans need American cities,” Johnson, whose term ends in 2027, wrote.

Black Republicans

Johnson, a former lawyer who served in the Texas state legislature for nearly a decade as a registered Democrat, is among other high profile Black people to switch to the Republican Party.

His feting at the Black Republican Trailblazers ceremony comes at a time when Republicans have aggressively looked to galvanize support for their preferred candidates among Black voters, who polling shows are leaning increasingly away from supporting President Joe Biden.

Aside from Johnson, the Black Republican Trailblazers ceremony is expected to celebrate former Ohio Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell with the Legacy Award; Quenton Jordan, vice president of the Black Conservative Federation, with the Emerging Leader Award; and lawyer Frederick Vialet with the  Frederick Douglass Award.

Past Black Republican Trailblazers awards winners include South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott, Virginia Lt. Gov. Winsome Sears and former HUD Secretary Ben Carson.

Happy Black History Month!


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