The 2024 Republican field may have just seen its first casualty.
NBC News first reported on Monday that the campaign of Miami Mayor Francis Suarez has gone dark, both in terms of messaging and money spent, since last week’s GOP primary debate in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The second-youngest candidate in the race at 45 (vivek Ramaswamy is 38), Mr Suarez had sought to build a brand as a representative of a new generation of Republican leadership.
After failing to breach higher than one per cent in most national and local polling, however, Mr Suarez was the only prominent Republican excluded from the first debate last week. His exclusion came as the frontrunner, Donald Trump, refused to attend.
Now, as NBC first reported, his campaign has only spent a few thousand dollars since the middle of last week — and that total preceded another major drop-off in spending which occurred right after the Republican National Committee announced that he would not be in the debate.
Complicating the issue, Mr Suarez himself had stated that he believed any Republican candidate who failed to qualify for the debate should drop out. It’s unlikely that Mr Suarez expected himself to be the only candidate to clear that hurdle, but that is very much the case.
Mr Suarez’s last tweet from his campaign account was posted one night before the debate in Milwaukee. It reads, in part: “I respect the rules and process set forth by the RNC, and I look forward to working with my party to ensure we win back the White House and restore the path to a brighter future for our country.”
His campaign Instagram has also gone quiet. His website, itstimewegetstarted.com, lacks an events page (or any pages describing his policy platform, biography, or other useful information).
Mr Suarez also lamented in the post that Republican voters would not hear “my story of how conservative principles of keeping taxes low, keeping people safe and focusing on creating prosperity for all created the most successful big city in America.” The lengthy statement does not display any indications of a candidate who expects to qualify for debates in the future.
The Independent has reached out to a Suarez official for comment on the status of his candidacy.
The first GOP debate was a Trump-less affair that served as a revealing look into the mindset of the current GOP. Candidates hesitated, then said ‘yes’ when asked if they would still support a convicted Donald Trump for office were he to win the GOP nomination, with the exception of Chris Christie. And political newcomer Mr Ramaswamy was sharply criticised for his lack of experience and past comments on Mr Trump and other subjects.
The ex-president himself has declared the GOP primary decided, pointing to his support in the polls, though he has in the past dismissed those same polling firms as fake news.
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