1996 Flag of the United States 2004
United States Presidential election, 2000
November 7, 2000
SteveMartin2 JohnTanner ElvisPresleyAgeProgression
Candidate Steve Martin John Tanner Elvis Presley
Party National Democratic Independent
Running mate William Parcells Henry Richardson Thomas T. King
Electoral vote 480 118 10
Popular vote 49.6%
2000 Election NW
Red indicates Martin/Parcells, Blue indicates Tanner/Richardson, Yellow indicates Presley/King

The 2000 United States presidential election was held on November 7, 2000 and pitted incumbent President Steve Martin of the National Party against former Governor of Ohio John Tanner of the Democratic Party. Martin won the election by a landslide in the electoral college with 480 electoral votes and after carrying 37 states but failed to gain a full majority of the popular vote, largely due to the strength of independent candidate Elvis Presley.

The election marked the first victory by an incumbent President since 1984 and the first time since 1904 that an independent/third-party candidate managed to carry an entire state's electoral votes (Presley won his home state of Tennessee's electoral votes).


The economy in 1999-2000 was growing at a steady rate and had exited recession in late 1998, with the rebound helping improve President Steve Martin's numbers. However, the conservatvie, pro-business tilt of the Martin administration, in particular his open-ended energy policy, drew the ire of liberals on the domestic front. With the economy sound and unemployment falling throughout 1999, the main issue of the campaign began to steer towards foreign policy, with Democrats intending to focus their energy on the unpopular 1998 War in Cyrene. Martin, meanwhile, intended to structure his campaign around promoting the strongest economy since the late 1980s mini-boom, two quick and successful military campaigns to protect NATO allies, and his administration's self-touted successes in modernizing government institutions through computer innovations and other New Century programs.

Democratic Nomination

Many senior Democrats, including Massachusetts Governor Jay Leno, Senate Majority Leader Bruce Springsteen of New Jersey, former Vice President Mario Cuomo and Senator Allen Lee of Washington, were wary of running with Martin appearing to be the strongest incumbent since Prescott Bush throughout 1999. However, the Democrats who eventually did enter the race were:

  • Former Ohio Governor John Tanner, who believed his Midwestern roots and Governorship of a critical swing state could help reassemble the Midwestern coalition that had nearly powered Frank Reed to the Presidency in 1988.
  • California Senator Steven Spielberg was the liberal wing's representative in the primary, casting himself as a significantly different candidate than the moderate, blue-collar Tanner
  • Former Huron Governor Cheryl Stephens, who positioned herself as a bipartisan achiever in a traditionally Nationalist state
  • Senator Michael Greavewell of New Hampshire, the Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and a longtime foil of former Senator from New Jersey, Vice President Bill Parcells
  • Congressman John Hawke of Connecticut, a longtime liberal icon on the House Ways and Means Committee and the Finance Committee making his second run for the Presidency.

Nationalist Nomination

Martin, with an approval rating of 57% by the end of 1999, faced no primary opposition and was renominated for a second term along with Vice President Bill Parcells at the National Party Convention in Atlanta, Georgia August 3-6. He exited the convention with a 53%-38% lead over Governor Tanner in the polls, with former General Presley still stuck in single digit polling.

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