Capitalizing on his popularity, Roosevelt ran for governor of New York. Republican leaders knew of his reform tendencies, but pushed his nomination as a means to overcome a recent history of corruption on the state level.
In November 1898, Roosevelt was elected by a narrow margin. He showed typical vigor in Albany and, as feared, alienated political boss Thomas Platt by pushing through a new tax on corporate franchises. His efforts at moderate reforms included a number of conservation measures and improvements in public education.
In 1900, Platt and other New York Republicans urged President McKinley to take Roosevelt as his running mate; the previous vice president had died in office and Platt was anxious to be rid of the hard-charging governor.