Miami GOP Mayor Francis Suarez jumps into 2024 presidential race

June 16, 2023

Miami Mayor Francis Suarez is joining the crowded field of Republicans running for president, becoming the first Hispanic in the race, reports Politico.

Suarez, 45—who believes that he can broaden the appeal for Republicans nationally—filed official federal paperwork on Wednesday, June 14. On Thursday morning, he appeared on Good Morning America to announce his bid.

“I’m running for president because I think I have a different message than what other candidates have,” he said. “I think what I noticed in the last 24 hours … just an outpouring of support because people want someone who can unify them.”

Suarez joins former President Donald Trump and Governor Ron DeSantis as a candidate from Florida, a one-time battleground state that has become more and more reliably Republican. Miami voters have twice elected Suarez, who is the son of the city’s first Cuban-born mayor, in one of the most important areas politically in the nation’s third-largest state.

Suarez serves as mayor of the City of Miami, a municipality of about 450,000 people that’s within Miami-Dade County, a region of more than 2.5 million people whose mayor is Daniella Levine Cava.

Suarez has touted the city’s low crime rate and economic successes, but he has lately been dogged by news reports about a developer who hired him to allegedly secure permits for a stalled real estate project at the same time the developer was trying to win approval for a city project.

Another looming problem for Suarez is whether he can raise enough money from enough supporters to qualify for Republican debates scheduled for later this summer. Suarez also could be hampered by his acknowledgement that he did not vote for Trump in either the 2016 or 2020 election, although he has been more complimentary of Trump lately.

Suarez also has acknowledged he did not vote for DeSantis in 2018 and tangled with him at one point over COVID-19 restrictions during the pandemic. He did say he voted for DeSantis in 2022.

But he told Politico in May that he was considering a run for president “because I think I can grow the tent—not for an election, but for a generation. I think it matters who is the communicator of ideas and how they communicate those ideas. You can look at my history and know that I’m someone who’s a unifier. You can look at my history and see that I’m someone who appreciates the nuances in a variety of different Hispanic cultures.”

Last month Kellyanne Conway told Politico reporters in D.C.: “I’ve not been shy about telling [former] President Trump that Suarez should be on the short, short list for VP should Trump be the nominee.”

Suarez has argued that Democrats have been “reckless’ in their branding and “messaging” with Hispanics. He argued that Republicans, in general, have a “tremendous opening” in part because Trump supported rolling back policies that the Obama Administration had put in place for Cuba.

Suarez already has a super PAC in place to help him. SOS America PAC on Wednesday said it was spending at least $100,000 on digital ads in New Hampshire, Iowa, and Nevada. The super PAC also hit President Joe Biden over law-and-order issues, while noting that the crime rates in Miami have dropped.

“America needs conservative Mayor Francis Suarez for President,” said SOS America PAC spokesperson Chapin Fay in a statement. “As our nation faces anti-police and pro-crime Democrat leadership in cities across the nation like Baltimore, Portland, and New York City, the achievements of first-generation American Mayor Suarez underscore the need for immediate nationwide adoption of his approach.”

Research contact: @politico