The 2000 United States presidential election was the 54th quadrennial presidential election and marked the end of President Bill Clinton’s two terms as president. The election was a contest between Republican George W. Bush, the Governor of Texas at the time, and the then-Vice President Democrat Al Gore. The election took place on November 7, 2000.
George W. Bush was the governor of Texas and the oldest son of former president George H.W. Bush. Bush faced a challenge Senator John McCain for the Republican presidential nomination. Along with McCain were several other candidates including businessman Steve Forbes, who also ran in 1996, U.S. Senator Orrin Hatch, and diplomat and conservative commentator Alan Keyes. Bush was able to secure the nomination by Super Tuesday.
Being the current Vice President of eight years, Al Gore was a clear favorite for the Democratic nomination and secured the nomination with relative ease. Gore avoided campaigning with President Clinton due to the president’s scandal and impeachment.
During the general election campaign, major topics of discussion for both candidates included budget, tax relief, and reforms for social programs. Republicans denounced Clinton’s indiscretions during the campaign while Gore criticized Bush’s lack of experience.
On November 7, 2000, election night, there was no clear winner. Media outlets had inconsistent exit-polling numbers and Oregon and New Mexico’s numbers would remain too close to call for several days. Additionally, perhaps the largest focus on the election was in Florida, where fewer than 600 votes separated Bush and Gore. Florida state law required a recount of the votes and Florida’s Secretary of State Katherine Harris certified that Bush had won the election by a 537-vote margin. Because the winner of Florida would become the next President of the United States, legal battles continued throughout the month, leaving the election unresolved.
Ultimately, it came down to a Supreme Court decision that declared Bush the winner of Florida and the winner of the presidential election.
George Bush won the following states in the 2000 election:
- New Hampshire
- North Carolina
- North Dakota
- South Carolina
- South Dakota
- West Virginia
Al Gore won the following states in the 2000 election:
- District of Columbia
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York
- Rhode Island
George Bush received 50,456,062 popular votes and Al Gore received 50,996,582. Bush received 271 electoral votes, just enough to win the presidency, while Gore received 266 electoral votes. Gore won D.C. but one elector did not cast a vote. Ralph Nader, the Green Party candidate, received 2,882,955 popular votes but did not receive any electoral votes.
President George W. Bush was inaugurated on January 20, 2001, and became the 43rd President of the United States.