Miami Mayor Francis Suarez campaigning at Iowa State Fair

Miami mayor Francis Suarez at the Iowa State Fair.
Miami mayor Francis Suarez at the Iowa State Fair.(Tyler Smith)
Published: Aug. 12, 2023 at 4:09 PM EDT

WASHINGTON (Gray DC) - Miami Mayor Francis Suarez was on the ground with voters at the Iowa State Fair for his campaign for president.

Suarez -- the only Latino candidate -- has not yet qualified for the first GOP debate later this month, which has both a polling and donor requirement.

However, Suarez said the state fair will help him get closer to qualifying.

“It’s a rite of passage for all the candidates to come here and continue to have an opportunity to touch voters directly, to talk to voters,” Suarez said while at the fair on Friday. “I want to be grateful to Iowa because they were the first poll that I made.”

Suarez said his roll as mayor would prepare him for the presidency because Miami already has international relations.

“I think it prepares me in ways that, frankly, to be governor of certain states don’t prepare you,” Suarez said. “As mayor of Miami, I’m interacting with presidents from South America, from the Middle East and even from Asia.”

As for current Republican frontrunner Donald Trump, Suarez said he wants to refocus the conversation onto issues.

“The challenge for a candidate like me is how do I refocus the conversation?” Suarez said. “How do I focus on the things that I think Iowans and Americans want to talk about, which is their future, their children’s future, their grandchildren’s future.”

Suarez was first elected mayor of Miami in 2017 and won re-election in 2021 with 78% of the vote.