Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance explores the events of Obama's early years, up until his entry into law school in 1988. He published the memoir in July 1995, when he was starting his political campaign for Illinois Senate.
Obama directed Illinois's Project Vote, a voter registration campaign with ten staffers and seven hundred volunteer registrars; it achieved its goal of registering 150,000 of 400,000 unregistered African Americans in the state, leading Crain's Chicago Business to name Obama to its 1993 list of "40 under Forty" powers to be.
During his final year in office, Obama had an opportunity to fill a third Supreme Court vacancy, following the death of Associate Justice Antonin Scalia. On March 16, 2016, he nominated Merrick Garland, the Chief Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit to the Court, but Republican leaders in the Senate refused to vote on any potential nominee until a new president was elected.
Obama's expected opponent in the general election, Republican primary winner Jack Ryan, withdrew from the race in June 2004. Six weeks later, Alan Keyes accepted the Republican nomination to replace Ryan. In the general election, Obama won with 70% of the vote.