Francis Suarez goes quiet after failing to make the GOP debate

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Francis Suarez was defiant.

“I’m going to make the debate stage, I can tell you that,” he told NBC News with utmost confidence six days before last week’s debate.

But he didn’t. And now, a full week after having failed to qualify, Suarez, the mayor of Miami, appears to be going back on his belief that candidates — such as him — should drop out of the race for the GOP presidential nomination if they didn't make the debate.

Speaking with a group of reporters at the Iowa State Fair 12 days before the debate, Suarez was asked for his thoughts about former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s assertion that candidates who don’t qualify for the debate should drop out.

“I’ve sort of always agreed with that. If you can’t meet the minimum thresholds, you shouldn’t be trying to take time and volume away from people that do,” Suarez said in Des Moines, adding, “I don’t think candidates should just sort of linger around if they don’t have a credible path.”

Now, Suarez is lingering around.

Two days before the debate Wednesday in Milwaukee, the Republican National Committee released its list of qualifiers and didn’t include Suarez. And a week later, despite his suggestion that candidates who fail to make the debate stage should withdraw from the nominating race, Suarez is still running for president.

The campaign, however, has gone dark since he missed the debate.

Suarez hasn’t held a public campaign event since an Aug. 17 swing through New Hampshire, and his official campaign account on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter, hasn’t published a new post since Tuesday, the day after the debate lineup was announced.

His last post on social media — a statement reacting to the RNC’s decision not to invite him to Milwaukee — explained how he derived his false confidence that he’d meet the polling threshold necessary to debate.

Suarez believed the RNC would count three polls in which he’d hit the necessary 1%, leading him to prematurely celebrate making the stage in an X video, which has been deleted. But one of those polls wasn’t counted.

His last public statement ended cryptically: “I look forward to working with my party to ensure we win back the White House and restore the path to a brighter future for our country.”

A spokesperson for the campaign didn’t respond to a request for comment seeking clarification on the campaign’s status.

Suarez's allied super PAC, SOS America, has reduced its spending to a crawl, as well. From Aug. 15 through Aug. 21 (when the RNC announced the debate lineup), the super PAC spent more than $400,000 on ads, according to the ad-tracking firm AdImpact.

But it has spent just $50,000 in the seven days since, and only $5,000 of that came after the debate.

The criteria for the next debate could shrink the stage even further. The RNC announced candidates will need to hit a 50,000 unique donor threshold and register at 3% in either two national polls after Aug. 1 or in one national survey plus polls from two different early voting states.

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