Francis Suarez's political operation is making subtle but significant moves toward a potential White House run
Suarez is nonetheless considered a rising political star who's overseen the ascendance of one of America's fastest-growing and most dynamic cities.
He currently serves as president of the United States Conference of Mayors, which represents over 1,400 cities with populations of 30,000 or more.
Driving the news: Suarez and his political team are now looking to take that brand national — and, specifically, to states crucial for any presidential aspirant.
In January, a handful of his political consultants formed a group called Agenda for America.
In May, the group began running digital ads targeting Facebook and Instagram users in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina, according to Meta advertising data.
The ads touch on high-profile national issues central to the current GOP messaging, with hits on "Bidenflation," education policy, immigration and crime.
In April, Suarez filed paperwork with city officials disclosing his intention to raise money for Agenda for America.
The group's president, Jesse Manzano-Plaza, is a top Suarez political adviser.
Its directors include J.P. Chavez, who co-founded a Miami consulting firm with Suarez policy adviser Carlos Curbelo, a former Florida congressman.
Also raising money for the group is Brian Goldmeier, a Suarez campaign fundraiser.
Suarez, the son of Miami's first Cuban-born mayor, has received national attention as the GOP looks to build on recent gains among Latino voters and recapture some urban support.
Also in Miami Herald:
A political group tied to Miami Mayor Francis Suarez is buying social media ads in key presidential primary states, fueling speculation that the Republican may be mulling a White House bid. Agenda for America has purchased digital ads on Facebook in Iowa, South Carolina and New Hampshire, among other states, according to advertising information on Meta’s website. Suarez disclosed in paperwork filed with the Miami city clerk in April that he was raising money for the group, which he listed as a 501c4 social welfare organization. Mostly, Agenda for America’s ads criticize President Joe Biden over inflation and immigration, warn of a “rabid desire to control our classrooms” by the “Radical Left,” or support police. The ads link to an online petition asking for email addresses and cell phone numbers.
The only ad specifically mentioning Suarez appears to be the group’s first, which links back to a Washington Post opinion column by George Will with the headline: From the Miami mayor’s office to the White House? Why not? Axios, which first reported the group’s activity with an article titled “Scoop: Miami mayor eyes White House,” put the amount of money spent on Instagram and Facebook at just over $8,000.
Reached by text Wednesday night, Suarez declined to comment on Agenda for America — a phrase he has used since he was reelected in 2021 and put on track to become president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors. The post has been typically held by Democratic mayors. Suarez referred to a statement released to Axios by Jesse Manzano-Plaza, who is Suarez’s top political consultant and the president of Agenda for America. “Agenda for America was created earlier this year to promote the discussion and exchange of ideas on issues related to embracing technology and the economy of the future, keeping taxes low, developing resilient cities, and funding police to keep our cities safe,” Manzano-Plaza said in a statement. He did not respond to any other questions about the group.
Suarez’s top fundraiser, Brian Goldmeier, confirmed to the Miami Herald in a text message that Agenda for America is his client, but he referred all other questions about the group to Manzano-Plaza. Goldmeier was spotted at a U.S. Conference of Mayors event in Miami Beach in March as part of Suarez’s entourage. Suarez, a 44-year-old attorney and principal at a private equity firm, has at times received national attention as a potential rising star in national Republican politics. He has never dismissed a potential bid for higher office, though he is rarely, if ever, included in conversations about serious Republican 2024 contenders. The mayor has elevated his national profile by promoting Miami as an attractive destination for tech firms and cryptocurrency investors, some of whom have contributed to the $6 million war chest he amassed when he ran for reelection in 2021 against little-known opponents. Earlier this year, Suarez traveled to D.C. and met with Republican leaders, including House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy. At the time, he said he “100%” intended to get involved in national Republican fundraising ahead of the 2022 midterm elections.