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Will Miami Mayor Francis Suarez run to be Florida’s next governor?

MIAMI — Miami mayor Francis Suarez on Friday spoke publicly to CBS News Miami for the first time about some of the controversy swirling around him and his political future.

After spending 75 days in the contest to be the Republican nominee for U.S. president, Suarez became the first candidate to leave the race.

He said he learned it is difficult to go from being mayor of a city to president of the United States. CBS News Miami’s Ivan Taylor asked Suarez what does his political future hold.

“If I stay in politics is because it’s something that I feel passionate about,” he said with a smile. “Running for governor is something that would interest me.”

The Florida governor’s seat is currently held by Ron DeSantis, who is still in the race to be the GOP’s nominee for president.

“I thought I had a chance to get elected,” Suarez said.. “Of course, you’re disappointed when you don’t succeed, and obviously I was disappointed in the way it happened.”

After announcing on social media that his campaign had reached the required fundraising target to be on stage during the first debate in Milwaukee, GOP leaders said Suarez did not meet the polling threshold of 1 percent.

CBS News Miami also asked Suarez about his work for a developer who needed a special zoning permit in Miami’s Coconut Grove neighborhood.

According to a published report in the Miami Herald, Suarez is under federal investigation as a result.

“I had no idea that he was in communication with my office,” Suarez said, referring to Rishi Kapoor from Location Ventures. When asked if he was getting paid $10,000 a month, as the newspaper reported, he said: “Yes, absolutely, I had a contract, and I was performing services.”

He said he does not know about a federal probe into the matter.

“I don’t know anything about it,” he said. “The Miami Herald has reported that there’s an FBI investigation. I am not aware of that, i haven’t been contacted by the FBI.”

In the past four months, three of Miami’s elected officials have been either charged with criminal activity, put under federal investigation or faced financial liability from a legal suit

CBS News Miami asked the mayor if he would support changing the city charter so anybody who is an elected public official facing criminal charges cannot run for re-election.

“You know I never thought about that to be honest, there’s a process right now when someone is charged with a crime the governor decides if that person is suspended,” Suarez said. “This is the first time I hear about this idea maybe we’ll think about it, sure.”

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