Possible GOP Presidential Contender Francis Suarez Gets Active in South Carolina, Backs Nancy Mace

This week, Miami Mayor Francis Suarez continued his efforts in a key primary state as buzz continues to build that he will run for the Republican presidential nomination in 2024.

Suarez endorsed and campaigned for U.S. Rep. Nancy Mace, R-SC, who is being challenged by Annie Andrews, a pediatrician who backs gun control. South Carolina traditionally holds its primary after New Hampshire and has been decisive in several Republican presidential nominations.

“Congresswoman Mace is a committed fiscal conservative who is willing to reach across the aisle to get things done for the Lowcountry and to strengthen our country,” said Suarez. “She will always do the right thing no matter the political consequences. That’s the kind of leadership every district deserves.”

“Mayor Suarez understands what it takes to work hard and be an independent voice,” said Mace. “He’s a leader who believes lowering taxes will promote economic growth, funding the police will help keep Americans safe, and leaning into innovation will help create job opportunities and protect the environment. He has applied these principles in the city of Miami, and the results speak for themselves.”

Back in August, Agenda for America, a group with ties to Suarez, started running ads in key primary and caucus states, including Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina.

Jesse Manzano-Plaza, the president of Agenda for America, told Axios what the group’s agenda is.

“Agenda for America was created earlier this year to promote the discussion and exchange of ideas on issues related to embracing technology and the economy of the future, keeping taxes low, developing resilient cities, and funding police to keep our cities safe,” Manzano-Plaza told Axios.

Suarez has also had a national bully pulpit in recent months. At the start of this year, Suarez took over as the president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM).

“It is such an honor to lead this organization and carry the torch for America’s mayors as we continue to blaze a path toward better days,” said Suarez. “Mayors are proving every day that local leadership and fresh thinking can dramatically improve people’s lives. Here in Miami, we have a vision for what American cities can be – vibrant, resilient, inclusive – and I’m excited to lift up the voices of my fellow mayors who are also delivering real change. There is so much we can accomplish when we work together and leave partisanship behind, and that is the spirit of the U.S. Conference of Mayors. My father was a member of this organization and I have long understood how powerful it can be to have America’s mayors speaking together. I also want to thank Nan Whaley for her extraordinary leadership as president of the Conference. I’m excited to begin this new chapter serving the Conference, my fellow mayors, and the people of Miami.”

Suarez made similar arguments last year. Appearing on “The Carlos Watson Show” back in September 2021, Suarez said the “mayor position” has “been elevated” thanks to the pandemic which could lead to a mayor becoming president. The closest a sitting mayor ever came to the presidency was in 1812 when New York Mayor DeWitt Clinton challenged President James Madison.

“People know national mayors a lot more than they did…. a generation ago,” Suarez told Watson. “I think it becomes more possible.”

In a shot at President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump–both of whom are in their 70s–Suarez, who turned 44 in October, also insisted “the American people would want to see someone that’s a next-generation candidate, whether it’s me or someone else,” adding “that people are thirsting for that.”

The son of former Miami Mayor Xavier Suarez, Francis Suarez was first elected to the Miami Commission in 2009. He was re-elected without opposition in 2011 and 2015. In 2017, he easily was elected mayor of Miami, a non-partisan office, taking 86 percent of the vote. While he is a registered Republican, Suarez has been very critical of top GOP leaders, refusing to vote for Trump in 2020 or Ron DeSantis in the 2018 gubernatorial election. Suarez has grown increasingly active on the national stage including meeting with former Gov. Nikki Haley, R-SC, a possible 2024 presidential candidate, last year,

Suarez could find a crowded field of Republicans from the Sunshine State exploring running for president in 2024. Now based in Florida, Trump is mulling over another presidential bid. If the former president stays out of the race, U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., and Donald Trump, Jr. could run. DeSantis is already garnering buzz as a possible presidential candidate, especially if Trump stays out. Florida’s two U.S. senators–Republicans Marco Rubio and Rick Scott–could also run for president in 2024.

Kevin Derby
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