Francis Suarez suspends presidential campaign
Francis Suarez wanted to be the first sitting Mayor elected President. It didn't pan out. Image via AP.

suarez ap
‘While I have decided to suspend my campaign for President, my commitment to making this a better nation for every American remains.’

Just over two months after launching a long shot bid for the White House, Francis Suarez is calling it quits.

He is the first Republican candidate to drop out of the contest.

Suarez confirmed his decision in a lengthy post to X, formerly known as Twitter, calling his short-lived run for President “a privilege” and “one of the greatest honors of my life.”

“Throughout this process, I have met so many freedom-loving Americans who care deeply about our nation, her people and its future,” he wrote Tuesday afternoon.

“While I have decided to suspend my campaign for President, my commitment to making this a better nation for every American remains.”

In a statement responding to the Mayor’s announcement, Democratic National Committee spokesperson Ammar Moussa said, “Good riddance.”

“One fewer Republican who wants to ban abortion nationwide,” he said. “Too bad the rest of the field is just as extreme.”

While Suarez entered the crowded race for the Republican nomination for President on June 14, he’d been openly testing a run since before his landslide re-election as Miami Mayor in November 2021.

Through mid-July, he’d reportedly raised nearly $14 million from more than 40,000 donors, with help from the political action committee backing his campaign, SOS America PAC.

The donor count was necessary to qualify for last week’s GOP debate, an event Suarez said he had to participate in if his campaign was to remain viable. But he failed to satisfy another requirement — polling at 1% or greater in at least three high-quality national polls — and was thus blocked from the debate stage.

Suarez presented himself as a young, moderate and more tech-savvy alternative to some of the leading GOP candidates, including fellow Florida men Donald Trump and Ron DeSantis, who respectively hold first- and second-place positions in most national polls.

The 45-year-old predicated his candidacy largely on the successes of his home city. Over the past several years, he has helped to successfully promote Miami as a sunnier alternative to Silicon Valley with a record-low local tax rate and 12% job growth since he took office.

But he also held many of the same positions as those he hoped to join onstage Wednesday, including a hardline stance on immigration at America’s southern border and a promise, if elected, to pardon Trump of the 91 felony charges the former President faces in four states for election and obstruction crimes.

Despite his low profile relative to DeSantis and Trump, Suarez received significant negative attention during his brief presidential run due to multiple investigations he still faces.

The FBI, Miami-Dade County Commission on Ethics and Public Trust and State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle all have probes open into whether Suarez misused his elected office by receiving $170,000 from a developer who sought project approval within the city.

Suarez, whose position as Mayor confers little actual power aside from being able to veto legislation and hire and fire the City Manager, dismissed the allegations of misconduct as a “smear campaign” to discredit him.

But he also proved to be his own worst enemy at times. During an interview in late June with radio host Hugh Hewitt, Suarez froze up when asked about the Uyghurs, an ethnic minority oppressed by the communist regime in Beijing.

Seeming to not know what Hewitt was referring to, Suarez responded, “What the what? What’s a Uyghur.” Later in the interview, he told Hewitt, “You gave me homework, Hugh. I’ll look at — what was it? What did you call it, a weeble?”

The exchange evoked a similar gaffe 2016 Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson made when he appeared to not know about Aleppo, Syria, which at the time was beset by war.

Suarez later explained he is “used to the Turkish pronunciation” of Uyghur, which is “spelled phonetically and a little differently.”

His most recent misstep came last week, when he prematurely told The Associated Press and announced on X that he’d qualified for the debate. A Republican National Committee official later clarified that while Suarez may have reached the polling and donor thresholds, the organization did not confirm he had qualified and later excluded him from the event.

The only major Hispanic candidate to run for President this cycle, Suarez vowed to “continue to amplify the voices of the Hispanic community — the fastest-growing voting group in our country.”

He took aim at President Joe Biden’s administration and Democrats, who he asserted have “taken Hispanics for granted for far too long” and are “failing our country” through inflation, elevated interest rates, rising crime rates and lax immigration policies.

He wrote, “I look forward to keeping in touch with the other Republican presidential candidates and doing what I can to make sure our party puts forward a strong nominee who can inspire and unify the country, renew Americans’ trust in our institutions and in each other, and win.”

Jesse Scheckner

Jesse Scheckner has covered South Florida with a focus on Miami-Dade County since 2012. His work has been recognized by the Hearst Foundation, Society of Professional Journalists, Florida Society of News Editors, Florida MMA Awards and Miami New Times. Email him at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @JesseScheckner.


  • Biscuit

    August 29, 2023 at 4:00 pm

    Another Trump Sucker loses his way following his Master.

  • It's Complicated

    September 1, 2023 at 11:46 am

    I don’t think a POTUS can issue a Presidential Pardon for a conviction of a state crime, period. Article II Section 2. of the U.S. Constitution literally says (in reference to Presidential powers), “… he shall have Power to grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offenses against the United States, except in cases of Impeachment.”

    Past SCOTUS have ruled Constitutional language LIMITING the power of Federal Government DOES equally apply to state and local governments, but that does not necessarily translate into empowering the POTUS to overrule an adjudication of state law.
    SCOTUS will have to sort that out. It has never been done.

    From my perspective, “Offenses against the United States” means a Federal Crime. Makes these candidate promises to issue a Presidential Pardon hollow, at best.

Comments are closed.


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