Francis Xavier Suárez, the 43rd mayor of the city of Miami, registered his candidacy for the Republican presidential nomination with the National Election Commission on Wednesday, becoming the thirteenth Republican candidate and the first Latino to announce his presidential aspirations for 2024.
Suárez, 45, is a lawyer from the city he runs. He is the son of former Miami Mayor Xavier Suárez and, before being elected to his current position, served as a commissioner on the Miami City Council from 2009 to 2017.
Between June 2022 and June 2023, he served as president of the United States Conference of Mayors.
Suárez reaches the presidential race in the middle of a scandal over real estate deals
The announcement of the filing of the candidacy papers comes as Suárez finds himself in the midst of a scandal over investigations by the FBI and the Securities and Exchange Commission into his business dealings with developer Rishi Kapoor.
The FBI’s criminal investigation focuses on monthly payments of $10,000 made to Suárezby Location Ventures, a subsidiary of Kapoor’s company, the Miami Herald reported.
Agents are investigating whether the payments constitute kickbacks in exchange for permits or other favors from the mayor for a $70 million mixed-use real estate project by Location Ventures in the Coconut Grove area.
According to the report, the Securities and Exchange Commission investigation, which does not initially involve Suárez, is focused on whether Kapoor and his company sold investment contracts without registering them as securities, misrepresented potential earnings reported to investors, or misappropriated funds for personal expenses.
is the third Floridian candidate for the 2024 Republican primary
Suárez, along with former President Donald Trump and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, make up the trio of Florida pre-candidates for the Republican presidential nomination in the upcoming elections.
Although Suárez has not openly criticized Trump like other candidates, mainly Chris Christie and Asa Hutchinson, he has said publicly that he did not vote for the former president in the 2016 and 2020 elections.
But recently some Trump advisers have praised Suárez’s work as mayor and helped him promote what he calls “the Miami success story.”
Former Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway has even mentioned Suárez’s name as a possible vice-presidential candidate.
To further ingratiate himself with the Trump team, Suárez has echoed Trump’s attacks on DeSantis’ behaviorsaying the governor doesn’t make eye contact and has problems with personal relationships with other politicians.
Suarez implemented strong restrictive measures against the spread of Covid-19 in the city of Miami, which were nullified by the DeSantis government’s measures prohibiting the use of face mask mandates and the requirement of vaccinations in Florida.
In 2021, Suárez publicly unsuccessfully asked DeSantis to allow him to implement measures to mitigate the spread of the pandemic in Miami.
Suárez has called the state laws enacted by DeSantis on immigration made to “grab headlines” and “lacking substance.” He has said immigration is a problem he “cries out for a national solution” at a time when many Republicans back hard-line policies.
However, Suárez expressed his support for Governor DeSantis’s controversial “don’t say gay” law that prohibits classroom instruction on sexual orientation or gender identity in kindergarten through third grade, but did not specify if he supports the expansion of the policy to all grades.
Suárez is the only candidate of Latino origin in the race for the Republican presidential nomination
Although Suárez is the first non-Cuban-born Miami mayor in 27 years, and the first to be born in the city in the mayor’s history, his family origins can be traced back to the island nation.
Suárez was elected and re-elected to mayor of Miami, by huge majorities in nonpartisan elections. The first of them, in 2017 with 86% of the votes and the second, in 2021, with 78%.
If victorious in his presidential effort, Suárez, would become the first president of Latino origin of the United Statesas well as the first acting mayor to be elected president
With information from Associated Press
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