Eric Johnson, the son of West Dallas who has served his community in the Texas House of Representatives for nearly a decade, was elected the 60th Mayor of Dallas in a sweeping double-digit victory Saturday night.
Johnson defeated Dallas City Council Member Scott Griggs, 56 percent to 44 percent, to become the second African-American Mayor in Dallas history.
Johnson will be sworn into office as Mayor on Monday, June 17. At 43, he will be one of the youngest mayors of a major American city, and he will be one of the most prominent African-American elected officials in the country.
“Every single time, without exception, that I have stood before the voters of Dallas, I have put my faith in two places: in the Good Lord above and in the voters,” Johnson told hundreds of supporters in his Saturday night victory speech at the Fairmont Hotel. “And in every case, I have not been let down.”
Johnson was the last of nine candidates for Mayor to enter the race. He quickly put together one of the strongest, most diverse and most widely respected coalitions of supporters ever assembled in a Dallas municipal election.
Many voters found inspiration in Johnson’s personal story. After he was identified as a gifted student during first grade at C.F. Carr Elementary in West Dallas, Johnson’s parents enrolled him in a joint venture between the Boys Clubs and Greenhill School, which allowed him to attend Greenhill beginning in the fall of 1983. He would go on to graduate from Greenhill in 1994 and then receive an undergraduate degree with honors from Harvard University, a graduate degree from Princeton University, and a law degree from the University of Pennsylvania Law School.
Johnson returned home to Dallas, where today he is an attorney. He and his wife, Nikki, have two sons — William and George.
In his victory speech Saturday night, Johnson described his win as proof of what’s possible in Dallas.
“If you work hard and you allow the people of this city to do what they naturally want to do, which is to help you, and if you will just open yourself up to receive that blessing that is the people of this city's help, the sky is the limit for anybody in this city,” Johnson said Saturday night. “I'm living proof, because there's nothing special about me.”
Throughout the mayoral campaign, Johnson stressed the importance of overcoming a growing sense of divisiveness on the Dallas City Council.
“I decided in this case, and I've decided so many times in the past: Why wait?” Johnson said. “Why hope somebody else will come along and solve the problem? If you're capable of solving it, step up to the plate and offer yourself as a solution. And that's how I got into this race.”