Miami Mayor Francis Suarez appearing on Fox News on August 7, 2023 (photo credit: Screenshot from Fox News)
In a video on Friday, Miami Mayor Francis Suarez said he had qualified for the Republican presidential debate on Aug. 23 in Milwaukee. But, Republican National Committee officials said that wasn’t the case.
In fact, senior advisers of the RNC told the Associated Press that he had not met the criteria for the debate, and another RNC official told the AP that the Suarez campaign had been notified that they could meet the polling criteria. Despite this, Suarez took to X, formerly known as Twitter, to celebrate.
“I am so excited to be able to deliver my message of prosperity to the entire nation, to introduce myself to the nation,” he said in the video. “This is the beginning of an incredible moment for our country and for our city. I want you all to watch and be a part of it.”
— Mayor Francis Suarez (@FrancisSuarez) August 18, 2023
Meanwhile, The New York Times reported Friday that former President Donald Trump will skip the debate in favor of an interview with former Fox News host Tucker Carlson.
It had been unclear whether Trump, who is leading the polls, would appear at the debate. Yesterday, the former president posted on Truth Social that he didn’t need to.
“As everyone is aware, my poll numbers, over a ‘wonderful’ field of Republican candidates, are extraordinary,” he wrote. “In fact, I am leading the runner-up, whoever that may now be, by more than 50 Points … People know my Record, one of the best ever, so why would I debate?
An RNC spokesperson said in an appearance on FOX News that candidates have until Monday to qualify. As to Florida’s three GOP presidential candidates, Gov. Ron DeSantis could be the only Florida candidate of the three to debate next week.
In order to make it to the first debate next week, candidates must have donations from at least 40,000 people and hit at least 1% in three national polls or a mix of national and early state polls. The polling has been a struggle for Suarez.
The Miami mayor, who is the only Latino candidate seeking the nomination, tried to heighten his profile outside of Florida at the Iowa State Fair last week, according to the Iowa Capital Dispatch. There, he told reporters he believes candidates should not remain in the race if they don’t have a credible shot, but did not commit to dropping out if he doesn’t qualify for the debate.
“When you’re a relatively unknown candidate, you see the reaction that the crowd has and the people have when they listen to me, you know that if you’re given an opportunity to speak at a national level, that you’re gonna be able to connect and that you’re gonna be able to grow,” Suarez said at the Iowa fair. “So it’s kind of a chicken or an egg problem. And so we’re doing everything we can over the next 10 days to get there.”
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