New York junior Senator and former First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton had expressed interest in the 2008 United States presidential election since at least October 2002, drawing media speculation on whether she would become a candidate. No woman has ever won the nomination of a major party in the history of U.S. presidential elections.
On January 20, 2007, she announced that she was forming an exploratory committee and filed with the Federal Election Commission to seek the nomination of the Democratic Party. Subsequently she began fundraising and campaigning activities. For several months Clinton led opinion polls among Democratic candidates by substantial margins until Senator Barack Obama pulled close to or even with her. Clinton then regained her polling lead, winning many polls by double digits; by autumn 2007 she was leading all other Democratic candidates by wide margins in national polls. She placed third in the Iowa caucus to Barack Obama and John Edwards, and trailed considerably in polls shortly thereafter in New Hampshire before staging a comeback and finishing first in the primary there.
She went on to win a plurality of votes in Nevada, but won fewer delegates in Nevada than Obama, then lost by a large margin in South Carolina. On Super Tuesday, Clinton won the most populous states such as California and New York, while Obama won more states total. The two gained a nearly equal number of delegates and a nearly equal share of the total popular vote. Clinton then lost the next eleven caucuses and primaries to Obama, and lost the overall delegate lead to him for the first time. On March 4, his consecutive wins increased to twelve when Vermont went his way. After an increasingly aggressive round of campaigning, Clinton broke the string of losses with wins in the Rhode Island, Ohio, and Texas primaries.
Clinton subsequently lost in Wyoming, Mississippi, Montana, North Carolina and Oregon, and won in Pennsylvania, Indiana, West Virginia, Kentucky, Puerto Rico and South Dakota. On the final day of primaries on June 3, 2008, Obama had gained enough pledged- and super-delegates to become the presumptive nominee; she then suspended her campaign on June 7, 2008 and endorsed Barack Obama.
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