|Presidential election results map. Red denotes states won by Bush/Cheney, Blue denotes those won by Gore/Lieberman.|
The United States presidential election of 2000 was a contest between Republican candidate George W. Bush, then-governor of Texas and son of former president George H. W. Bush (1989–1993), and Democratic candidate Al Gore, then-Vice President.
Bill Clinton, the incumbent President, was vacating the position after serving the maximum two terms allowed by the Twenty-second Amendment. Bush narrowly won the November 7 election, with 271 electoral votes to Gore's 266 (with one elector abstaining in the official tally).
The election was noteworthy for a controversy over the awarding of Florida's 25 electoral votes, the subsequent recount process in that state, and the unusual event of the winning candidate having received fewer popular votes than the runner-up. It was the closest election since 1876 and only the fourth election in which the electoral vote did not reflect the popular vote.
<gallery perrow="6"> Image:GeorgeWBush.jpg|Governor George W. Bush of Texas Image:John McCain official portrait 2009.jpg|Senator John McCain of Arizona Image:Alan Keyes speech.jpg|Former U.S. ECOSOC Ambassador Alan Keyes of Maryland Image:Steve_Forbes.jpg|Businessman Steve Forbes of New York
Image:Orrin Hatch, official 110th Congress photo.jpg|Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah Image:Elizabeth Dole official photo.jpg|Former Secretary of Labor Elizabeth Dole of North Carolina Image:Patrickjbuchanan.JPG|Publisher and author Pat Buchanan of Virginia Image:Dan Quayle, official DoD photo.JPEG|Former Vice President Dan Quayle of Indiana Image:Lamar Alexander official portrait.jpg|Former Secretary of Education Lamar Alexander of Tennessee Image:Robert C Smith.jpg|Senator Robert C. Smith of New Hampshire Image:John Kasich.jpg|Representative John Kasich of Ohio Image:Harold E. Stassen.jpg|Former Governor Harold E. Stassen of Minnesota </gallery>
Several Republican candidates appeared on the national scene to challenge Gore's candidacy.
George W. Bush became the early front-runner, acquiring unprecedented funding and a broad base of leadership support based on his governorship of Texas and the name recognition and connections of the Bush family. Several aspirants withdrew before the Iowa Caucus because they were unable to secure funding and endorsements sufficient to remain competitive with Bush. These included Elizabeth Dole, Dan Quayle, Lamar Alexander, and Robert C. Smith. Pat Buchanan dropped out to run for the Reform Party nomination. That left Bush, John McCain, Alan Keyes, Steve Forbes, Gary Bauer, and Orrin Hatch as the only candidates still in the race.
On January 24, Bush won the Iowa caucus with 41% of the vote. Forbes came in second with 30% of the vote. Keyes received 14%, Bauer 9%, McCain 5%, and Hatch 1%. Hatch dropped out. On the national stage, Bush was portrayed in the media as the establishment candidate. McCain, with the support of many moderate Republicans and Independents, portrayed himself as a crusading insurgent who focused on campaign reform.
On February 1, McCain won a 49%–30% victory over Bush in the New Hampshire primary. Gary Bauer dropped out. After coming in third in Delaware Forbes dropped out, leaving three candidates. In the South Carolina primary, Bush soundly defeated McCain. Some credit Bush's win to the fact that it was the first major closed primary in 2000, which negated McCain's strong advantage among independents. Some McCain supporters blamed it on the Bush campaign, accusing them of mudslinging and dirty tricks, such as push polling that implied that McCain's adopted Bangladeshi-born daughter was an African-American child he fathered out of wedlock. While McCain's loss in South Carolina damaged his campaign, he won both Michigan and his home state of Arizona on February 22.
On February 24, McCain criticized Bush for accepting the endorsement of Bob Jones University despite its policy banning interracial dating. On February 28, McCain also referred to Rev. Jerry Falwell and televangelist Pat Robertson as "agents of intolerance", a term he would later distance himself from during his 2008 bid for the party's nomination. He lost the state of Virginia to Bush on February 29. On Super Tuesday, March 7, Bush won New York, Ohio, Georgia, Missouri, California, Maryland, and Maine. McCain won Rhode Island, Vermont, Connecticut, and Massachusetts, but dropped out of the race. On March 10, Alan Keyes got 21% of the vote in Utah. Bush took the majority of the remaining contests and won the Republican nomination on March 14, winning his home state of Texas and his brother Jeb's home state of Florida among others. At the Republican National Convention in Philadelphia George W. Bush accepted the Nomination of the Republican party.
Bush asked former Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney to head up a team to help select a running mate for him, but ultimately, Bush decided that Cheney should be the vice presidential nominee. While the U.S. Constitution does not specifically disallow a president and a vice president from the same state, it 'does' prohibit electors from casting both of his or her votes for persons from his or her own state. Accordingly, Cheney—who had been a resident of Texas for nearly 10 years—changed his voting registration back to Wyoming. Had Cheney not done this, either he or Bush would have forfeited their electoral votes from the Texas electors.
Other mentioned candidates: