Miami Mayor Francis Suarez suspends presidential campaign

Republican Party of Iowa's Lincoln Day Dinner in Des Moines

By Kanishka Singh

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Miami Mayor Francis Suarez announced on Tuesday he is suspending his presidential campaign, becoming the first major Republican candidate to do so, after failing to qualify for the first primary debate held last week.

"While I have decided to suspend my campaign for President, my commitment to making this a better nation for every American remains," he said in a post on X, formerly called Twitter.

Suarez, 45, entered the race in June. He described his vision for a youthful, upbeat and cross-cultural campaign in an interview with Reuters.

A Cuban-American who has sought to create a tech-driven economic boom in Miami, Suarez was the only Hispanic candidate in the Republican field and the third candidate from Florida, joining former President Donald Trump and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.

"I will continue to amplify the voices of the Hispanic community - the fastest-growing voting group in our country," Suarez said in the online post in which he announced the suspension of his campaign.

In the post, the Republican also criticized the administration of Democratic President Joe Biden over issues like inflation and crime.

Suarez was always going to be a long shot in a race that has been dominated by Trump. Most opinion polls show DeSantis a distant second, with Suarez placed near the bottom of the pack of candidates.

Suarez has had thorny relationships with both Trump and DeSantis. He did not support Trump in his 2020 reelection bid and was critical of some of DeSantis' COVID-19 pandemic-era policies.

Suarez had also drawn criticism for championing cryptocurrency firms such as the bankrupt FTX, which bought naming rights to Miami's basketball arena but was then forced to surrender them.

However, the city has seen an influx of more traditional tech companies and wealthy investors during his tenure, as well as a construction boom that has helped contribute to Miami's reputation as a top international tourism destination.

(This story has been refiled to fix the spelling of Francis Suarez's first name in the headline)

(Reporting by Kanishka Singh in Washington; Editing by Chris Reese and Jonathan Oatis)