Hillary Clinton Elected Senator

Hillary Clinton was First Lady of the United States. Her husband was President Bill Clinton. She had been more active in the government than earlier First Ladies, working especially for improvements to our health care system. Still she found time to look ahead to her next big challenge.

In February 1999, Hillary Clinton announced that she was considering, just considering, running for senator. She had been encouraged to run for a Senate seat that would be open in New York. By July, she had set up a committee to look into it.

In September, Hillary and Bill Clinton bought a home in New York. Then in February 2000, she officially announced her candidacy.

Originally she ran against Rudy Giuliani, the mayor of New York City. This was before 9/11, but he was already a well-known and popular public figure. Both Clinton and Giuliani went to work raising money that they would need for a big campaign. Then, due to health problems and personal problems, Giuliani decided to drop out of the race. So the Republicans chose a new candidate, Rick Lazio, to run against Clinton. Lazio was lesser-known than Giuliani, but he wanted to win. Altogether, Clinton, Giuliani, and Lazio spent more than ever before, about $90 million, on their campaigns.

Clinton faced some problems along the way. Her opponents charged her with carpetbagging, meaning that she had only come to New York to win the Senate seat. They said that she wasn't a real New Yorker. These charges, however, didn't cause many voters to turn away from Clinton.

Clinton campaigned on her record of service to the people she represented, and she set goals for making improvements for New Yorkers if she was elected.

She reminded voters of her long record of working for children's issues, including her work for the Children's Defense Fund and her campaign to improve the public schools in Arkansas. The goals she set for herself if she became senator also included improving the lives of children. She hoped to strengthen health insurance programs for children and to remove environmental hazards from schools. She also promised to work for a stronger economy for New York.

While highlighting her own strengths, Clinton also pointed out some negatives about her opponent. She reminded voters that Lazio had less experience in public service, and she described him as extremely conservative.

Clinton and Lazio presented their positions on all types of issues of interest to New York voters. For instance, were they in favor of building a new sports stadium? Clinton was against it; Lazio was for it.

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