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Will this be 2000 all over again? Here’s how Bush-Gore race unfolded

Al Gore and his wife Tipper wave to suporters after Gore''s concession speech December 13, 2000 in Washington DC. Photo by Mark Wilson/Newsmakers
Al Gore and his wife Tipper wave to suporters after Gore''s concession speech December 13, 2000 in Washington DC. Photo by Mark Wilson/Newsmakers (Getty Images)

If President Donald Trump follows through on ambitions to have the Supreme Court ultimately decide who wins the presidential election, it would be a case of deja vu, 20 years later.

In one of the closest elections in U.S. history, George W. Bush beat Al Gore in the 2000 race for the White House, earning 271 electoral votes to 266 for Gore.

Here’s a look back at what happened and why the situation might have similarities to this year’s election.

It all came down to Florida.

As election night went into its waning stages on Nov. 7, 2000, it became evident that the election would come down to who won the state of Florida.

Earlier that night at around 8, news networks declared that Gore had won the state and its 25 electoral votes.

However, hours later, the networks took that proclamation back once Bush started to take a lead.

In the early morning hours of Nov. 8, networks then declared Bush the winner of Florida, and thus, he became the president-elect.

That set up a wild celebration for Bush supporters, but that was tempered by sunrise when news outlets once again retracted and said Florida was still up for grabs.

In fact, Gore initially called Bush to concede, then called back to retract that concession.

Start of a recount

Because Bush had only hundreds more votes than Gore when the votes were counted, a mandatory recount as instructed by state law was instituted.

Gore requested for recounts to be done by hand in four Florida counties.

Adding to the intrigue was that Bush’s brother, Jeb, was Florida’s governor at the time.

Courts end up deciding it

After various recounts and lawsuits, the Florida Supreme Court ultimately ordered a recount of votes in all 67 of Florida’s counties.

Bush appealed the decision to the U.S. Supreme Court, which conducted two votes among itself, according to History.

One was a determination that the Florida recount was unconstitutional by a 7-2 margin. The next vote was whether time had run out to devise a remedy since a winner had to be chosen.

That measure passed by a 5-4 margin, which was exactly the Republican majority in the court.

Bush then was declared the winner of Florida, and thus, the election.

Gore concedes

Realizing he and his campaign had done all it could do, Gore then made a concession speech following the Supreme Court ruling, that can be viewed here.

“I say to President-elect Bush that what remains a partisan rancor must now be put aside and may God bless his stewardship of this country,” Gore said.

Gore won the popular vote by nearly 550,000 votes, becoming the first president since Grover Cleveland in 1888 to win the popular vote but lose the electoral vote.


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