Miami Republican Mayor Francis Suarez has been huddling with wealthy bundlers as he mulls launching a challenge for the 2024 GOP presidential nomination, according to a report.
Suarez, who told reporters last Friday that he’s still considering a White House bid, has been courting boldface names like New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft, Blackstone CEO Steve Schwarzman, BlackRock CEO Larry Fink and former Massachusetts GOP Gov. Charlie Baker since late last year, CNBC reported on Wednesday.
Along with shoring up potential high-profile contributors to his campaign, Suarez, 45, traveled to the Washington, DC area last week to speak at the Conservative Political Action Conference — a required stop for potential Republican contenders.
Former President Donald Trump, 76, who announced Nov. 15 that he was running, and former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, 51,who is also in the running, both spoke at the conference as well.
After his five-minute speech, in which Suarez heralded the “Miami miracle” of keeping crime and taxes low, the mayor told the Miami Herald that he was still weighing a bid — but admitted that time is running out.
“As you know, the due diligence related to that is extensive, and it’s obviously a big decision,” Suarez said. “So I’m going to continue to go through the process, and when I’m ready, I’ll make the decision.”
Suarez is highly popular in South Florida, winning his first election in 2017 with 85% of the vote and re-election with 78% of the vote in 2021.
But if he enters the 2024 Republican fray, Suarez would start out as a long-shot underdog and would have a lot of ground to make up, including with Republican voters.
Trump ran away with the CPAC straw poll as the preferred GOP candidate of 62% of the conference’s attendees, while Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis came in second with 20%.
The two other announced candidates — Haley and tech entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy — finished with 3% and 1% of the vote, respectively.
Asked about his plans if fellow Floridian DeSantis throws his hat in the ring, Suarez told the Herald that isn’t a consideration.
“I don’t think you run based on who is running from the state you come from,” he said. “I think you run based on whether or not you can be successful and whether or not your vision and what you’re offering to the voters is something that contrasts significantly with the other candidates, and something that can inspire them and connect with them.”
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