The 2000 United States presidential election was the 54th quadrennial presidential election, held on Tuesday, November 7, 2000. Democratic Candidate Al Gore, the incumbent Vice President and former senator of Tennessee defeating Republican Nominee George W. Bush, the eldest son of 41st President George H. W. Bush and Governor of Texas. It was considered one of the closest elections in history.
Incumbent Bill Clinton was ineligible for a third term, and Gore secured the Democratic nomination with relative ease, defeating a challenge by former Senator Bill Bradley. Bush was seen as the early favorite for the Republican nomination and despite a contentious primary battle with Senator John McCain and others, secured the nomination by Super Tuesday. Bush chose former Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney as his running mate, while Gore chose Senator Joe Lieberman.
Both major-party candidates focused primarily on domestic issues, such as the budget, tax relief, and reforms for federal social insurance programs, although foreign policy was not ignored. Due to President Bill Clinton's Popularity, Gore had him campaign for and with him in the southern states and abroad. Clinton's popularity had reached record highs--high as 70%. On election night, it was unclear who had won, with the electoral votes of the state of Florida still undecided. The returns showed that Gore had won Florida by such a close margin that state law required a recount. A month-long series of legal battles led to the highly controversial 5–4 Supreme Courtdecision Bush v. Gore, which ended the recount.
The recount having been ended, Gore won Florida by 1,257 votes, a margin of 0.01%. The Florida recount and subsequent litigation resulted in major post-election controversy, and with speculative analysis suggesting that limited county-based recounts would likely have confirmed a Gore victory, whereas a statewide recount would likely have given the state to Gore. Ultimately, Gore won 291 electoral votes, 21 votes more than the 270-to-win majority, despite Gore receiving 543,895 more votes (a margin of 0.51% of all votes cast). Bush won 11 states that had voted Democratic in the 1996 election: Arkansas, Arizona, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, Ohio, Tennessee and West Virginia.