WASHINGTON (Reuters) -Francis X. Suarez, the mayor of Miami who has overseen a tech-driven economic boom in the city, became the latest Republican to join the burgeoning ranks of presidential aspirants, according to a Federal Election Commission filing on Wednesday.
Reuters was not able to immediately confirm authenticity of the FEC filing.
Suarez, 45, a Cuban-American, is in his second term as mayor and lacks name recognition outside of south Florida even as he has worked to build his national profile in recent months by appearing at conservative forums and traveling to early Republican primary states.
He is the only Hispanic candidate in the Republican field and the third candidate from Florida along with front-runner Donald Trump and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.
Suarez drew criticism after championing cryptocurrency firms such as the bankrupt FTX, which bought naming rights to the city basketball arena but was then forced to surrender. Suarez backed a Miami-branded digital currency now valued at nearly zero.
But Miami has seen an influx of more traditional tech companies and wealthy investors during his tenure, many fleeing more rigid regulatory environs. Booming construction has helped to revive the city’s longstanding reputation as a top international tourism destination.
The Miami mayor’s job is technically a part-time position. The much larger Miami-Dade County government manages most of the region’s functions.
Suarez has had thorny relationships with both Trump and DeSantis. He did not support Trump in his 2020 re-election bid and was critical of some of DeSantis’ COVID pandemic-era policies.
In April, Suarez took a shot at DeSantis’ social skills, telling Fox News that he “seems to struggle with relationships, generally.”
“I look people in the eye when I shake their hands,” Suarez said.