Francis Suarez Drops Out of the G.O.P. Presidential Race – NBC US NEWS

Mayor Francis X. Suarez of Miami dropped out of the race for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination on Tuesday, after failing to gain traction in a crowded field and falling short of the requirements to participate in the first Republican debate.

“Throughout this process, I have met so many freedom-loving Americans who care deeply about our nation, her people and its future,” Mr. Suarez posted on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter. “It was a privilege to come so close to appearing onstage with the other candidates at last week’s first debate.”

Mr. Suarez, 45, wrote in the posting on Tuesday that he was suspending his campaign for president. He had announced his run in June, joining an already-crowded cast of Republicans vying for the nomination, including a former vice president, a U.S. senator, several governors — and a former president whose dominance in polls has been steady throughout the race.

No one has ever ascended to the presidency directly from a mayoral office. As the sole Latino candidate — he is Cuban American — Mr. Suarez played up his ability to appeal to a diverse group of voters. He promoted a boilerplate G.O.P. platform in which he called to curb violent crime, suggested giving U.S. companies incentives to leave China and expressed support for a 15-week national abortion ban with exceptions.

The first in the 2024 race to drop out, Mr. Suarez told reporters at the Iowa State Fair on Aug. 11 that any candidate who failed to make the debate stage should bow out.

To participate in the debate, candidates needed a minimum of 40,000 unique donors, which Mr. Suarez said he had attained, and at least 1 percent in three qualifying polls. Mr. Suarez posted a video online celebrating his supposed qualification on Aug. 18. But three days later, the Republican National Committee announced a debate stage lineup that left him out.

After acknowledging his failure to make the debate stage on X, Mr. Suarez went dormant on social media and did not hold campaign events in the days following the debate.

During his campaign, Mr. Suarez often took shots at the governor of his home state, Ron DeSantis, including criticizing legislation that banned discussions of gender identity and sexual orientation in schools and poking fun at Mr. DeSantis’s dispute with Disney. But he rarely attacked the party’s front-runner, former President Donald J. Trump, and suggested that he would be open to pardoning him if convicted in any of his four indictments.

A technology enthusiast, Mr. Suarez also experimented with novel means of attracting voters and created an “A.I. Suarez” in his likeness that, when prompted, explained his policy stances on a host of issues as its mouth moved in a somewhat-humanlike fashion. But his campaign never really took off, and his most favorable polls showed him hovering around 1 percent support, at best.

The mayor faces allegations of peddling influence on behalf of a real estate development company. The Miami Herald reported that Mr. Suarez was paid at least $170,000 by Location Ventures “to help cut through red tape and secure critical permits.” The Herald later reported that the F.B.I. was investigating if those payments constituted bribes.

In his statement on X on Tuesday, he stressed a need for Republicans to do “more to include and attract” Hispanic voters, among other demographics, whom he said “the left has taken for granted for far too long.”

“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 G.O.P. and its policies,” he said.

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