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Francis Suarez becomes first Republican to drop out of 2024 primary

Miami mayor branded himself as face of a new generation of Republicans, but failed to gain traction

John Bowden
Washington DC
Tuesday 29 August 2023 19:53 BST
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All the times Donald Trump was mentioned by the GOP candidates

The 2024 Republican field has officially shrunk by one.

Miami Mayor Francis Suarez officially suspended his campaign on Tuesday after failing to make last week’s debate in Milwaukee, the first matchup of the GOP candidates onstage. His suspension came a day after an NBC News report detailed two sharp dropoffs in campaign spending following the announcement of Mr Suarez’s exclusion from the debate and the subsequent event itself.

“While I have decided to suspend my campaign for President, my commitment to making this a better nation for every American remains,” Mr Suarez said in a lengthy statement released on Twitter.

“Running for President of the United States has been one of the greatest honors of my life. This country has given so much to my family and me. The prospect of giving back at the highest levels of public service is a motivator if not a calling. Throughout this process, I have met so many freedom-loving Americans who care deeply about our nation, her people, and its future. It was a privilege to come so close to appearing on stage with the other candidates at last week’s first debate,” his statement continued.

Mr Suarez, the second-youngest prominent Republican in the race (and the youngest to actually serve in office), had branded himself as the face of a new generation of conservative state leaders in America. But he failed to gain traction in early primary states as well as in national polling, where he languished below the first primary debate threshold of one percent for months.

It wasn’t long after the announcement that a Democratic-aligned group, Heartland Signal, put out a mocking obituary video for the mayor’s campaign.

Donald Trump remains the wide favourite to win the nomination.

Polling shows the former GOP president currently holding the support of around half or more of the Republican primary electorate; that number is most closely followed by Ron DeSantis, governor of Florida, who is currently languishing (according to polls) far behind Mr Trump in early primary states and nationally.

Mr Trump’s polling dominance was the reason cited by his campaign for his refusal to attend last week’s debate in Milwauke, which Mr Suarez had hoped to attend. The Miami mayor’s exit from the race was somewhat expected given past comments he had made suggesting that anyone who did not qualify for an invitation should drop out of the primary.

Mr Suarez was first elected as mayor of Miami in 2017, having previously served on the city board of commissioners.

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