An elephant is standing behind some tall grass. Photo by Mehmet Turgurt on Pexels

June 5, 2023: A super PAC supporting Miami Mayor Francis Suarez’s run for the Republican presidential nomination has launched an artificial intelligence chatbot to answer questions about him, marking yet another example of how generative AI tools are being used in 2024 presidential campaigns. (The Independent)

The bot unveiled Wednesday by SOS America PAC listens to a user’s questions and matches them to video answers, created with an AI-powered avatar made to look and sound like Suarez.

“Hi, I’m AI Francis Suarez,” the bot says to introduce itself, its mouth moving in a way that’s not quite human. “You’ve probably heard that my namesake, conservative Miami Mayor Francis Suarez, is running for president. I’m here to answer questions you may have about Mayor Suarez’s proven agenda for economic prosperity, cutting spending and supporting our police. So, how can I help?”…

June 14, 2023: Francis Suarez, Miami’s second-term mayor, has filed papers to run in the Republican presidential primary, casting himself as a conservative problem solver while he faces an FBI probe over payments from a developer seeking help from the city. (Miami Herald – via AOL)

Suarez, a 45-year-old attorney and private equity executive, is the first Hispanic to enter a crowded GOP field. He is expected to announce his candidacy Thursday at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation, but papers filed with the Federal Election Commission on Wednesday show he’s officially a candidate for president…

…In recent weeks, he’s faced questions about his outside employment after the Miami Herald reported he was paid $10,000 a month as a consultant for developer Rishi Kapoor while Suarez’s office assisted Kapoor in resolving permitting issues with the city. The FBI recently opened a probe into the allegations, according to sources familiar with the matter.

Suarez has denied any wrongdoing, saying his work with Kapoor was related to development matters outside of Miami and that his office routinely assists developers seeking help with red tape. While the political leader of Miami, Suarez has no administrative power within Miami government, which is run by a city manager…

June 16, 2023: Miami Mayor Frances Suarez’s entry to the 2024 Republican presidential primary left many wondering how he would carve out a place in a crowded GOP field that includes two other heavyweight candidates from Florida. (Miami Herald)

Thursday night, he signaled what his path could be during his first public speech since officially launching his campaign: He’s taking the Ronald Regan lane, as a Cuban-American with family who faced oppression under the island communist regime, a youthful politician who started in politics by asking Miamians to vote for his papi when his father ran for mayor, and a leader who sees his city as a “thriving city on a hill.”

“I believe America is still a shining city on a hill, whose eyes of the world are upon us, and whose promise should be restored,” he told an audience of a few hundred at the Ronald Regan Presidential in California. Sitting in the front row was his father, Xavier Suarez, Miami’s first Cuban-born mayor. “And I believe this city needs more than a fighter or a shouter. I believe it needs a servant. I believe it needs a mayor.”…

August 4, 2023: Miami Mayor Francis Suarez (R) said rival GOP presidential candidate Ron DeSantis’s decision to debate Gov. Gavin Newsom (D-Calif.) is “a sign of DeSantis’s desperation.” (The Hill)

“I’m not surprised at all. He put pressure on himself, he’s got to compete, he’s got to do well. If he does poorly, I think it’s very, very fatal,” Suarez said of the Florida governor on a business podcast released Friday.

Newsom initially challenged DeSantis to a debate last September. DeSantis, facing pressure from donors and falling poll numbers, accepted the challenge Thursday. The debate is expected to take place in early November…

…DeSantis places second in most polls behind former President Donald Trump in the GOP race, but he is a distant second place…

…Recent national polling averages show DeSantis with about 14 percent support – down from 20 percent when he launched his campaign in May – and Trump with about 53 percent support.

Suarez is receiving less than a tenth of a percent support according to the same polling averages.

August 29, 2023: Miami Mayor Francis Suarez announced Tuesday that he’s suspending his long-shot 2024 Republican presidential race after he failed to make the cut for the GOP debate stage last week. (CBS News)

In an announcement on Tuesday, Suarez said “running for president has been the greatest honor of my life.” He also vowed to continue to “amplify the voices of the Hispanic community – the fastest-growing group in our country.”

“The Left has taken Hispanics for granted for far too long, and it is no surprise that so many are finding a home in America’s conservative movement,” Suarez said. “Our party must continue to do more to include and attract this vibrant community that believes in our country’s functional values: faith, family, hard work, and freedom. Younger voters, Independents, urban voters and suburban women – all of whom I’ve carried in previous elections – among others, should find a comfortable home in the GOP and its policies.”

Suarez is the first Republican to drop out of the 2024 race…

October 8, 2023: Miami Mayor Frances Suarez, ambitious and eager to bask in the national spotlight, would rather not talk about City Hall right now. (Miami Herald).

His brash, hand-picked police chief is alleging deep-seated corruption by some the city’s powerful commissioners and claiming to have gone to the feds. Commissioners, in turn, have been slamming Miami’s new top cop in public, using a series of at times bizarre televised hearings to accuse Chief Art Acevedo of egomaniacal behavior and outline just how little vetting was done while luring the new chief away from his job in Houston.

And yet, Suarez, riding a wave of positive tech news and entertaining talk of presidential potential, is having nothing to do with the drama at home, dodging interviews, issuing statements and betting that he and the city are better off it he lies low until the city’s top administrator douses the flames…

…But by staying mostly silent, Suarez – who is running for reelection against scant opposition on Nov. 2, risks looking absent as Miami’s often volatile City Hall erupts again and the cop he only months ago called the “Michael Jordan police chief’s” is on the verge of getting canned…

November 14, 2023: Miami Mayor Francis Suarez earned payments totaling six figures advising two financial firms run by close associates of a Russian oligarch, two of several side jobs he refused to reveal to the public until he ran for president with its more rigorous disclosure requirements. (Miami Herald – via AOL).

Suarez received between $160,000 and $220,000 combined working for Dreamer Capital and Legacy Wealth Advisors, which share a Brickell office with a business and charity connected to Igor Makarov, an oil tycoon worth in excess of $2 billion.

Dreamer and Legacy are led, respectively by Lazar Finker and his son, Eugene Frenkel. Both have longtime financial and personal test Makarov, who holds a spot on the Putin List – a U.S. government roster of the mega-rich with Kremlin ties.

Dreamer and Legacy are more than a dozen income sources, paying millions, that the mayor had refused to detail until he briefly ran for president, dropping out in August. The Federal Trade Election Commission requires presidential candidates to reveal who pays them…

November 22, 2023: Another state ethics complaint has been filed against Miami Mayor Francis Suarez. (Miami New Times)

In a complaint filed last week with the Florida Commission on Ethics, activist Thomas Kennedy accuses Suarez of violating state ethics law by spending taxpayer funds on personal security during his bid for president. The complaint records previously obtained by New Times that showed Miami Police Department officers traveled on the campaign trail with Suarez and billed the city more than $20,000 for their hotels, transportation, and meal expenses.

“Mayor Francis Suarez is misusing public resources for personal political benefit,” Kennedy wrote in the complaint.

In an email sent to Kennedy on Tuesday, Millie Fulford, complaint coordinator for the Florida Commission on Ethics, confirmed receipt of the complaint.

Florida law requires that public resources and city staff only be used for public purposes. If the City of Miami is not reimbursed for the costs, Suarez’s use of city funds during his brief presidential campaign could breach regulations, government ethics expert Caroline Klancke told New Times in early November…

…It is unclear whether an investigator has been assigned to the case. A spokesperson for Suarez has not responded to a request for comment…

Posted in 2024 Presidential Campaign