(Bloomberg) -- Miami Mayor Francis Suarez is the first candidate to drop out of the 2024 Republican presidential contest, suspending his bid after being left off the stage in the party’s first presidential debate.
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“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, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter.
The 45-year-old Suarez, a two-term mayor, had touted his city’s crypto economy, declining homicide rate and low unemployment. As a Cuban-American, he was the only Hispanic in the GOP presidential race, a key demographic the party sees as an opportunity to grow its appeal.
But Suarez was one of the last candidates to jump into the race, and struggled to get traction in polls and raise money. He was averaging just 0.2% in the FiveThirtyEight average of national polls, with many pollsters leaving his name off entirely.
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He received enthusiastic support from Miami’s business community in his mayoral races, but that support was slow to carry over to his presidential campaign.
“I will continue to amplify the voices of the Hispanic community — the fastest-growing voting group in our country,” he said in his X post.
Suarez’s decision seemed inevitable after he failed to make Republican National Committee’s lineup for the first debate in Milwaukee held last week. While other low-polling candidates also face questions about whether to stay in the race, Suarez faced a different calculation as an elected official because staying in too long could jeopardize his chances of serving in a future Republican administration.
He told reporters in Iowa this month that candidates who didn’t qualify for the debate should drop out. “I agree that if you can’t meet the minimum thresholds, you shouldn’t be trying to take the time involved away from being productive,” he said.
With three days before the debate qualification deadline, Suarez claimed he had met the polling requirements to get on stage, but the RNC said those polls didn’t meet the minimum standards for poll quality.
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