Miami Mayor Francis Suarez announced on Tuesday that he is suspending his campaign for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, becoming the first candidate to drop out of the crowded field. Suarez, who launched his bid in July, failed to qualify for the first GOP primary debate last week in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
Suarez, 45, was the only high-profile Hispanic candidate in the race and had hoped to appeal to the growing Latino electorate, especially in key states like Florida and Texas. He also touted his record as the mayor of Miami, a part-time position he has held since 2017, where he oversaw the city’s economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic and its emergence as a hub for technology and innovation.
In a statement posted on X, formerly known as Twitter, Suarez said that running for president was “the greatest honor” of his life and that he would continue to “amplify the voices of the Hispanic community” and other groups that he believes should find a home in the Republican Party.
“The Left has taken Hispanics for granted for far too long, and it is no surprise that so many are finding a home in America’s conservative movement,” Suarez said. “Our party must continue doing more to include and attract this vibrant community that believes in our country’s foundational values: faith, family, hard work and freedom. Younger voters, Independents, urban voters and suburban women- all of whom I’ve carried in previous elections – among others, should find a comfortable home in the GOP and its policies.”
Suarez had focused his campaign on issues such as immigration, trade, education and health care. He visited the U.S.-Mexico border in early August and unveiled a plan to invest in Latin American countries to address the root causes of migration. He also criticized President Joe Biden’s handling of the withdrawal from Afghanistan and the rise of inflation.
However, Suarez struggled to gain traction in a crowded and competitive field that includes former Vice President Mike Pence, former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and Texas Senator Ted Cruz. He also faced challenges in raising money and building a national profile.
According to the Republican National Committee (RNC), candidates had to meet two criteria to qualify for the first debate: they had to register at least 1% support in four national or early-state polls conducted by approved pollsters, and they had to receive donations from at least 40,000 unique donors.
Suarez claimed that he had met the donor threshold, saying that he had received contributions from “nearly 50,000” people. He also said that he had signed the RNC pledge to support the eventual nominee. However, he admitted that he was short of one national or state poll that would have secured his spot on the debate stage.
Suarez was one of three candidates who did not make the cut for the debate, along with conservative radio host Larry Elder and businessman Perry Johnson. Elder and Johnson said they would take legal action against the RNC over the debate qualification process, alleging that it was unfair and arbitrary.
Suarez did not endorse any of his former rivals in his statement, but said he would “remain active in our party’s efforts to defeat Joe Biden in 2024.” He also thanked his supporters, staff and family for their encouragement and dedication.
“I am proud of what we have accomplished together,” Suarez said. “We have started a conversation that will continue well beyond this campaign. We have shown that there is a place for everyone in our party who shares our vision of a stronger, freer and more prosperous America.”