Be like the Bronx GOP and expand Latino outreach by opening the Republican presidential debate to Miami Mayor Francis Suarez

Mike Rendino | New York Daily News

The Republican Party is on the cusp of a major resurgence in the Bronx. Because we are the only borough of New York City with a Hispanic majority, a lot of our success stems from our efforts within that community. It’s one of the reasons I recruited a prominent Hispanic Republican candidate to run for mayor in 2021. But if the RNC keeps the only Hispanic candidate running for president off the debate stage this week, Miami Mayor Francis Suarez, they will be setting our efforts in the Hispanic community back decades.

President Trump received tens of thousands of more votes in New York City in 2020 than he did in 2016 and the biggest increases were right here in the Bronx. His biggest gains were in the South Bronx, a heavily populated Hispanic area. Trump’s public safety and economic messages really resonated with Hispanic voters, as does Suarez’s this cycle.

In 2021, our Republican mayoral candidate won a City Council district in the Bronx — one that is fast becoming majority Hispanic. In fact, we have a great Republican candidate running for this seat this year, Kristy Marmorato, who has a real shot to defeat a progressive Democrat incumbent. If we have strong national candidates whose messages resonate with Hispanic voters, Kristy’s victory would be a lock.

In 2022 our gubernatorial candidate Lee Zeldin continued significant outreach in our Hispanic communities and showed up in the Bronx time and time again during his campaign. Zeldin continued and led our upward trend of attracting Republican Hispanic voters. We have been running stronger and attracting new voters into the Republican coalition each election cycle.

But during the 2024 cycle we will not have major citywide or statewide campaigns to carry our banner here on the ground in the Bronx. It will be up to our presidential candidates to support our work on the ground, so if our local candidates have any shot at all, we need strong Republican candidates to communicate directly with Bronx Republicans and communicate a message that will resonate, like Trump did in 2020.

And while he is the first choice for many Bronx Republicans and has been critical to our efforts to revitalize the Bronx Republican Party and Hispanic outreach, Trump’s political and legal future are far from certain. That’s why we need strong candidates on the debate stage Wednesday like Suarez.

Suarez is exactly the kind of successful Republican voice the RNC should be amplifying. He is a successful, dynamic, young Hispanic Republican elected official, but more important: if Suarez participates in the debate, he would have one of the strongest records of success out of anyone else on the stage.

Under his leadership, Miami has become one of the safest and most economically prosperous large cities in America. He has ushered in the lowest crime rate since the 1950′s, the lowest homelessness rate since 2013 and the lowest unemployment rate in the entire nation. His “Miami Model” has worked and Bronx Republicans deserve to hear about it this week.
Democrat-run cities like New York where crime, illegal immigration and inflation are devastating us sure could use leadership like Suarez has demonstrated in Miami.

I look forward to working with whomever our Republican nominee is, and it is still likely to be Trump. But at this stage of the game, for the good of the party both nationally and here in the Bronx, we need strong candidates like Suarez on the debate stage.

Bronx Republicans have been steadily laying the groundwork for success over the last few election cycles and we are ready to capitalize and bring on our Bronx Republican resurgence, but we can’t do it if the only Hispanic Republican is kept off the debate stage Wednesday. At our annual Lincoln Day dinner last year, we had more than 600 people in attendance, and the majority were people of color. I’m not so sure we’ll be able to do it again this year if our party silences the lone Hispanic Republican voice running for president.