The United States presidential election of 2000 was the 54th quadrennial presidential election. It was held on Tuesday, November 7, 2000. The contest was between Republican candidate George W. Bush, the incumbent governor of Texas and son of former president George H. W. Bush, and Democratic candidate Al Gore, the incumbent Vice President.
Incumbent Democratic President Bill Clinton was not eligible to serve a third term, and Vice President Gore was able to secure the Democratic nomination with relative ease. Bush was seen as the early favorite for the Republican nomination, and despite a contentious primary battle with Senator John McCain and other candidates, secured the nomination by Super Tuesday. Many third party candidates also ran, most prominently Ralph Nader. Bush chose former Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney as his running mate, and Gore chose Senator Joe Lieberman as his. Both major party candidates focused primarily on domestic issues, such as the budget, tax relief, and reforms for federal social insurance programs, though foreign policy was not ignored. Clinton and Gore did not often campaign together, a deliberate decision resulting from the Lewinsky sex scandal two years prior.
Election results hinged on Florida, where the margin of victory triggered a mandatory recount. Litigation in select counties started additional recounts, and this litigation ultimately reached the United States Supreme Court. The Court's contentious decision in Bush v. Gore (in contrast to an equally contentious decision by the Florida State Supreme Court), announced on December 12, 2000, ended the recounts, effectively awarding Florida's votes to Bush and granting him the victory. This marked the fourth election in U.S. history in which the eventual winner failed to win a plurality of the popular vote (after the elections of 1824, 1876, and 1888). Later studies have reached conflicting opinions on who would have won the recount had it been allowed to proceed.