This election was in conjunction to the presidential election, where Bush narrowly defeated Gore after an intense recount. The senate election was evenly matched with two U.S. Congressmen named Bill in their mid-50s. Both parties heavily targeted this senate seat. The election became very nasty as Nelson called his opponent "an extremist who would sacrifice the elderly, the poor, and the working class to coddle the rich." McCollum called the Democrat "a liberal who would tax everything that moves, and some things that don't." The election advertisements were very negative, as both candidates talked more about each other than themselves.
Nelson raised only soft money, but had help from President Bill Clinton and VP Al Gore. Two days before the election, McCollum predicted he would win by a 6-point margin. On election day, he lost by a 5-point margin.