The 2000 election campaign was an exciting time for the Libertarian Party. Harry Browne and Art Olivier were nominated as our presidential and vice-presidential candidates during the July 4th weekend, at our national convention in Anaheim, CA. The Browne-Olivier ticket received 382,892 popular votes, and the LP made the ballot in all 50 states (plus DC) for the third consecutive election. In addition, we ran 1,430 candidates -- more than twice as many as all the other third parties combined. We fielded candidates for 255 of the 435 seats in the U.S. House, as well as 25 of the 33 Senate seats up for election, making the Libertarian Party the first third party in 80 years to contest a majority of the seats in Congress. On Election Day, our U.S. House candidates received 1.7 million votes -- the first time any third party has received over a million votes for the U.S. House.
A LOOK BACK AT PREVIOUS LIBERTARIAN PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGNS
John Hospers and Theodora "Tonie" Nathan made history when, in 1972, they were nominated as the Libertarian Party's first presidential and vice-presidential candidates. Although the Hospers-Nathan ticket only made the ballot in two states and received less than 3,000 votes, they were the first and only Libertarians to receive an electoral college vote. Hospers, a professor of philosophy at USC, also authored Libertarianism, one of the Libertarian movement's great defining books in its early years. Nathan, a news reporter from Oregon, became the first woman and candidate of Jewish heritage to receive an electoral vote -- preceding Geraldine Ferraro by a decade, and Joe Lieberman by almost three.
That electoral vote was cast by Roger MacBride -- a Republican elector from Virginia who went on to become the LP's presidential candidate in 1976. Like the show he produced (Little House on the Prairie), MacBride's campaign was a hit. The MacBride-Bergland ticket was on the ballot in 32 states, and garnered over 170,000 of the popular vote. MacBride's running mate, David Bergland, would later run for president on the 1984 ticket.
In 1980, the party ran Ed Clark and businessman David Koch as its presidential and vice-presidential candidates. The team of Clark, a popular attorney who had won 5% in a race for governor of California, and Koch, whose millions helped the party to wage an unprecedented ad campaign, raked in an impressive 921,199 votes and made the ballot in all 50 states (plus DC).
Attorney and long-time LP activist David Bergland and tax-protestor Jim Lewis carried the LP banner in 1984. In the face of a much tighter budget and stricter ballot access laws than in previous campaigns, Bergland-Lewis still managed to get on the ballot in 39 states. They were also the first Libertarians to come in third in the popular vote, with 228,705 votes. In addition, Bergland's Libertarianism in One Lesson is still used as an introductory text to Libertarianism.
Former Republican Congressman Ron Paul won a close nomination bid against Native American activist Russell Means for the 1988 LP ticket. Paul chose Andre Marrou -- who had served in the Alaska State House of Representatives as a Libertarian -- as his running mate. That year, Libertarians saw their ballot access increase to 46 states. Their popular vote total of 432,297 was twice that of any other third party.
Marrou led the charge as our presidential candidate in '92, with libertarian legal activist and doctor Nancy Lord running for the vice-presidency. The Marrou-Lord campaign actively pushed for a greater libertarian TV presence. They received 291,627 votes, and Libertarians regained ballot status in all 50 states (plus DC) for the first time since 1980. On a more symbolic note, Marrou defeated incumbent President George Bush, 11 votes to 9, in Dixville Notch, the small New Hampshire town whose voters always vote first in the nation in presidential primaries.
Libertarians made their second-best showing in 1996, with best-selling author and investment advisor Harry Browne, and running mate Jo Jorgensen, a long-time party activist and successful businesswoman. Browne-Jorgensen won 485,798 of the popular vote, and the Libertarian Party became the first third party in American history to achieve ballot access for all 50 states (plus DC) for two elections in a row.