Ed Clark was the Libertarian candidate for President in the 1980 presidential election.
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.
In 1978, Clark received some 400,000 votes, 5 percent of the popular vote, in a race for Governor of California.
In 1980 he 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.
Clark received 921,299 votes and over 1% of the total nationwide; the highest number and percentage of popular votes a Libertarian party candidate has ever received in a presidential race. 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.
 Election results
|1980||President of the United States||921,299||1.06%|
|Libertarian Party Presidential candidate
|Libertarian Party California Gubernatorial Nominee
Dan P. Dougherty