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|‹ 1996 2004 ›|
|United States presidential election, 2000|
|November 7, 2000|
|Nominee||Colin Powell||Bill Bradley|
|Home state||New York||New Jersey|
|Running mate||Pete Wilson||Paul Wellstone|
The United States presidential election of 2000 was the 53rd quadrennial presidential election, held on Tuesday, November 7, 2000. Republican Party nominee President Colin Powell and his running mate, Vice President Pete Wilson, defeated Democratic Party nominee Senator Bill Bradley and his running mate, Senator Paul Wellstone, in the general election. Much of the election revolved around the economy, and the news media concerned for most of the season with the drama around the Democratic primaries.
From 1997 until 1999, former Vice President Al Gore led a comfortable lead in Democratic primary polls. Gore largely avoided personal attacks against President Powell; he preferred to sketch a vision of the future defined by the increasingly verdant tech sector. However, in 1999, the dot-com bubble burst, and Gore's rhetorical reliance on it caused his polls numbers to dip. In August of that year, New Jersey Senator Bill Bradley announced his intention to challenge Gore for the nomination, and began waging an all-out war from the progressive wing of the Democratic Party. Bradley castigated Powell for his explorations overseas (including the campaigns in Kosovo and Bosnia), calling them unconstitutional, and argued vociferously for economic reforms to keep businesses open and Social Security intact. After an extremely drawn out and dramatic primary, Bradley finally secured the nomination in June 2000, in an upset reminiscent to many onlookers of George McGovern's insurgent 1972 campaign against Ed Muskie. Bradley chose liberal Minnesota Senator Paul Wellstone as his running mate, and spent the remainder of the election season vigorously campaigning against Powell.
During the Democratic primaries, President Powell, who ran unopposed, was able to hammer his opponents without them answering, and secured a lead in the polls that he never really abdicated, except for a weeklong period in October, after the first presidential debate, seen largely as a win for Bradley. On election night, the results were much closer than most pundits had predicted, with electors not announcing a winner until past midnight. Powell ultimately was reelected, albeit extremely narrowly.