Miami Mayor Francis Sorez joins a crowded field of Republican candidates dominated by former President Donald Trump.
Miami, Florida Mayor Francis Suarez has become the latest Republican to launch a bid for the 2024 US presidential race.
Suarez, the son of a prominent Cuban-American politician and a rising Republican star, filed paperwork with the Federal Election Commission on Wednesday to formalize his campaign, US media reported.
Suarez’s candidacy makes him the third major Florida politician to announce his candidacy for the Republican presidential nomination. Two current Republican frontrunners are based in the state: former President Donald Trump and his closest rival, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.
However, the 45-year-old mayor will be the only major Hispanic candidate to launch a bid so far. Florida has long been a highly regarded swing state — though recent trends suggest it is shifting further to the right — and its large Cuban-American population has been an influential Republican base for decades.
But Suarez still has an uphill battle to defeat Trump as Republican leader. As Trump faced a federal arraignment in a classified documents case on Tuesday, Suarez appeared outside a Miami courthouse where proceedings were ongoing, only to be met by angry protesters who dubbed him a “swamp monster” or “RINO” — An acronym for “nominal Republican.”
Suarez has publicly distanced himself from Trump and DeSantis, positioning himself as a more centrist Republican.
Suarez as Trump belittles Caribbean nation Haiti a ‘sh**hole’ on twitter “Condemns discriminatory comments wholeheartedly,” citing his family’s roots in the immigrant community.
Suarez also told US media that he did not vote for Trump’s 2020 re-election bid. Explaining his decision to Politico magazine, Suarez said, “Politicians have to be — I don’t want to say perfect, but they have to be someone who is civilized, who is respectful, who is inspiring, who has those characteristics.”
Suarez also publicly doubted DeSantis’ early gubernatorial run, opting instead to vote for his Democratic rival Andrew Gillum in the 2018 race. But in 2022, when DeSantis runs successfully for the governor’s mansion for the second time, Suarez has switched to the Republican Party.
Despite this, Suarez has maintained his critical voice. In May, he lashed out at DeSantis’ ongoing feud with entertainment company Disney on NewsNation show The Hill, calling it a “personal vendetta.”
Suarez himself has come under fire in recent months as he faces allegations of abusing his position to help real estate developer Location Ventures get permits for condominium projects.
While the mayor of Miami is allowed to hold a paid position outside of office, the position cannot seek “special privileges or immunities.” The Miami Herald, a local newspaper, reported this month that the FBI had opened an investigation.
Suarez, who was first elected mayor of Miami in 2017, has long weighed an unlikely presidential bid, with reports as early as 2021 suggesting he could be re-elected.
His father, Xavier Suarez, was Miami’s first Cuban-born mayor, originally elected in 1985.During his tenure as mayor, the young Suarez positioned Miami as the next major tech hub in the U.S., seeking to attract talent from traditional innovation bases like California’s Silicon Valley at the height of the coronavirus pandemic.
“We want to be part of the next wave of innovation,” Suarez told The New York Times’ DealBook publication in 2021, famously announcing on Twitter that he would accept salary payment In the cryptocurrency bitcoin — though other digital currencies he has publicly backed, such as MiamiCoin, have plummeted in value or been embroiled in scandals.