Ed Clark

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Ed Clark
Vice Chair
Libertarian National Committee
Provisional Chair
Libertarian Party of New York
Predecessor: Inaugral
Successor: Jerome J. Klasman
Personal Details
Birth: May 4, 1930 (age 87)
Education: Tabor Academy
Dartmouth College
Harvard University (JD)
Military: United States Navy
Occupation: Lawyer, Politician
Residence: San Marino, California
Party: Libertarian Party
Ed Clark 1980 Presidential campaign excerpt

Edward E. 'Ed' Clark (b. May 4, 1930) is an attorney from San Marino, California.[1] He is best known for his 1978 campaign for Governor of California, and his 1980 Campaign for President of the United States.

Early Life (1930-1972)

Clark, born in Massachusetts, was an honors graduate of Dartmouth College and received a law degree from Harvard Law School.

He was the first State Chair of the New York Free Libertarian Party and upon relocating was elected the State Chair of the Libertarian Party of California. He was elected Vice Chair of the national party at the 1972 National Convention in Denver, Colorado.

1978 California Gubernatorial Campaign

In 1978, Clark ran for Governor of California. Although a registered Libertarian, Clark campaigned as an Independent. Clark received some 377,960 votes, 5.46% of the popular vote, in a race for Governor of California. His vote total in that election is still a Libertarian Party gubernatorial record.

1980 Presidential Campaign

In 1980 Clark won the Libertarian Party nomination for the Presidency at their party convention in Los Angeles, California. He published a book on his programs, entitled A New Beginning. The book's introduction was by Eugene McCarthy. During the campaign, Clark positioned himself as a peace candidate and tailored his appeal to liberals and progressives unhappy with the resumption of Selective Service registration and the arms race with the Soviet Union. When asked in a television interview to summarize libertarianism, Clark used the phrase "low-tax liberalism," causing some consternation among traditional libertarian theorists, most notably Murray Rothbard. A growing split within the Libertarian Party between a moderate faction (including Clark) and a purist faction led by Rothbard eventually came to a head in 1983, with the moderate faction walking out of the party convention.

Ed Clark's running mate in 1980 was David Koch of Koch Industries, who pledged part of his personal fortune to the campaign in exchange for the Vice Presidential nomination. Koch contributed about $2 million of the Clark campaign's $3.5 million fundraising haul.[2]

Clark received 920,049 votes and 1.06% of the total nationwide; Libertarian Party presidential candidate records that would stand until Gary Johnson's 2012 and 2016 campaigns. His strongest support was in Alaska, where he came in third place with 11.66% of the vote, finishing ahead of independent candidate John Anderson and receiving almost half as many votes as Jimmy Carter.



1980 Total
January 169,226
February 24,219
March 41,066
April 147,759
May 139,619
June 149,568
July 253,225
August 621,315
September 738,116
Oct 1 - Oct 15 405,195
Oct 16 - Nov 24 318,190
Nov 25 - Dec 31 52,597
1980 Total 3,060,095

Electoral Results

Election results as a Libertarian candidate
Year Office Vote total %
1980 President of the United States 920,049 1.06%


  1. http://www.ourcampaigns.com/CandidateDetail.html?CandidateID=4030
  2. https://static01.nyt.com/packages/images/us/koch-documents/koch-doc-5-1050.jpg
  3. http://www.fec.gov/press/summaries/2016/tables/presidential/TopPresEle.pdf

Preceded by:
Roger MacBride
Libertarian Party Presidential candidate
Succeeded by:
David Bergland
Preceded by:
John Hospers
Libertarian Party California Gubernatorial Nominee
Succeeded by:
Dan P Dougherty