Libertarian Party

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Libertarian Party
General Information
Chartered: December 11, 1971
Chair: Nicholas Sarwark
Vice Chair: Arvin Vohra
Secretary: Alicia Mattson
Treasurer: Tim Hagan
Address: 1444 Duke St. Alexandria, Virginia 22314
Website: Website
Social Media
Facebook: Facebook
Twitter: Twitter

The Libertarian Party is a United States political party founded in 1971. The LP is the largest third party in the United States.

The Libertarian Party was founded on the basic ideas of Libertarianism. This philosophy is rooted in the Non-Aggression Principle and ideas such as Self-Ownership, The Ownership of Property, and the Objectivist notion of man as a heroic being.

Founded by David Nolan and several of his colleagues, the LP has grown to considerable size, reaching more than 4 million votes in the 2016 presidential election, and is the first party to have a female candidate on its presidential ticket receive an electoral vote. In 2006, over 13,400,000 votes were cast for Libertarian candidates.

The LP runs on a grassroots Jeffersonian ideal where individuals take the stand. The party has people from all political breeds, and has many variations on it's main ideas, yet the major ideas hold true.


In 1971, the Committee to Form a Libertarian Party was established to determine if a new political party was needed, or if one of the existing political parties was suitable. It has been documented that Richard Nixon's 90 day price and wage freeze in August of that year was a deciding factor in the decision to form the LP.

On 11 December, the committee pulled the trigger, and the committee was replaced by the Libertarian Party. Notice was published in Reason Magazine[1] and possibly other places, which helped efforts to bootstrap the party going into its First National Convention.

At the Denver convention, Ed Carlson proposed a Statement of Principles, and the final draft was a minor variation of one proposed by John Hospers. It was expected that other planks would be routinely removed from the platform as they ceased to be timely or relevant. The Libertarian National Committee was set up, Susan Nolan was elected national chair, and the first national ticket was John Hospers for President and Tonie Nathan for Vice President.

While the Libertarian Party soon discovered the hard way how difficult it was to get on ballots, its presence on two states was adequate to attract the attention of an unhappy Republican elector, Roger MacBride, who gave the Hospers/Nathan ticket his vote, making Tonie Nathan the first woman and the first ethnic Jew to receive an electoral vote.


Libertarian Party is founded December 11th, in the home of David Nolan. Disillusioned Republicans, Democrats and political newcomers hope to create an alternative to the old parties.
First national convention held in June in Denver, Colorado. John Hospers, a philosophy professor at the University of Southern California, is nominated as presidential candidate. LP vice presidential candidate Tonie Nathan becomes the first woman in U.S. history to receive an electoral vote.
National convention in New York City. Roger MacBride is nominated as the LP's presidential candidate, David Bergland as his running mate.
MacBride achieves ballot status in 32 states, and receives over 170,000 votes.
Ed Clark receives 5% of the vote in his race for Governor of California.
Dick Randolph of Alaska becomes the first elected Libertarian state legislator.
Presidential nominating convention held in Los Angeles. Ed Clark and David Koch named as presidential and vice presidential candidates.
Permanent ballot status achieved in California as more than 80,000 voters register Libertarian.
Ed Clark appears on the ballot in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Guam, and receives almost one million votes. His campaign runs extensive national television ads and offers many Americans their first look at what the LP has to offer. Many in the media recognize the LP for the first time as a serious political force.
Dick Randolph is re-elected to Alaska state legislature. Ken Fanning, also running as a Libertarian, is elected to Alaska legislature.

Louisiana congressional candidate James Agnew receives 23% of the vote. Alaska gubernatorial candidate Dick Randolph receives 15% of the vote. Arizona gubernatorial candidate Sam Steiger receives 5% of the vote.
David Bergland is nominated in New York City as the LP's presidential candidate. Jim Lewis is his running mate.
On the ballot in 39 states, David Bergland and Jim Lewis come in third in the race for President for the first time in the LP's history. Bergland publishes Libertarianism in One Lesson, a campaign book that eventually sells over 75,000 copies, and is still used by the LP today as an introductory text.
Andre Marrou becomes the third Libertarian elected to the Alaska legislature.
Libertarians are elected to 11 more local offices around the country.
More than 200 candidates across the United States receive 2.9 million votes. Ray Cullen, candidate for Treasurer in California, gets 570,000 votes, largest vote total ever for a third party candidate in California.
Doug Anderson is elected Elections Commissioner in Denver. Libertarians are elected to every seat on the city council in Big Water, Utah.
Former U.S. Congressman Ron Paul resigns from the Republican Party and joins the LP.
Seattle convention nominates Ron Paul for President and Andre Marrou for Vice President.
Ron Paul, on the ballot in 46 states and the District of Columbia, comes in third, receiving more than 430,000 votes nationwide -- almost twice the total of any other "third" party.
Approximately two million people vote for LP candidates.
Election Day is "Double Digit Day," as numerous LP candidates for U.S. Congress and state house draw percentage numbers in teens, twenties, and thirties.
New Mexico state legislature candidate Illa Mae Bolton gets 31% of the vote. California congressional candidate Joe Shea receives 27% of the vote.
A 5% vote for New Hampshire gubernatorial candidate Miriam Luce qualifies LP of New Hampshire as an official party with ballot status.
More than 440,000 Texans vote for Court of Criminal Appeals candidate Carol Caul.
More Libertarian candidates win election in local races -- city council, school board, etc.
New Hampshire state legislators Calvin Warburton and Finlay Rothhaus resign from the Republican Party and join the LP.
Chicago nominating convention names Andre Marrou and Nancy Lord as presidential/vice presidential ticket.
In New Hampshire's presidential primary election Andre Marrou beats incumbent President George Bush 11 votes to 9 in Dixville Notch, the town whose voters always vote first in the nation.
In the general election, four Libertarian state legislators are elected in New Hampshire, with Don Gorman and Andy Borsa joining Warburton and Rothhaus who were re-elected.
Once again the LP's presidential ticket is on the ballot in all 50 states, D.C., and Guam, the only party other than the Democrats and Republicans to achieve this goal.
The more than 700 LP candidates nationwide receive more than 3,700,000 votes for state and federal offices alone. The 23 Libertarian candidates for U.S. Senate receive over 1,000,000 votes, the highest total for a nationally organized third party since 1914.
The LP retains ballot status in 16 states following the 1992 election, two more than it had after the 1988 election.
National Director Stuart Reges testifies before Congress, endorsing legislation to make it easier for third party candidates to participate in presidential debates.
In "off-year" elections, 15 Libertarians win public office, scoring victories in local and county races across the country from Alabama to New York, from Pennsylvania to Minnesota.
Miriam Luce is appointed to the New Hampshire State Liquor Commission, Bonnie Flickinger wins election as Mayor of Moreno Valley, California, and Dr. Jimmy Blake wins a seat on the City Council in Birmingham, Alabama.
In New Hampshire, Jim McClarin becomes the most recent Libertarian elected to a state legislative slot; incumbent Don Gorman is re-elected. Elsewhere, Libertarians are elected to city council positions and local boards. Montana Libertarian candidate receives more than 30% for a statewide office.
Libertarians win ballot status for 1996 in Illinois, Indiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, and Wyoming. Coming out of this election, the LP is now automatically qualified to nominate a presidential candidate in 23 states, the most ever.
Membership and voter registrations soar to record levels. The LP moves its national headquarters into the prestigious Watergate Office Building, which the Wall Street Journal dubs "a sign of the times" of the party's growing stature.
In November, three more Libertarians are elected to city councils: Bruce Van Buren (Avondale Estates, Georgia), Dewayne Methaney (Auburn, Georgia), and Doug Carlsten (Brighton, Colorado.)
The Libertarian Party becomes the first third party in American history to earn ballot status in all 50 states two presidential elections in a row. At the nominating convention in Washington, DC, best-selling author Harry Browne gets the party's nomination. He goes on to win 485,759 votes in the general election, the second-best showing in party history.
The party runs almost 800 candidates for office, and 10 of them break the 100,000-vote barrier. LP candidates for statewide and federal office alone win 5.4 million votes, and seven Libertarians are elected or re-elected to office.
1996 Libertarian Party national convention in Alexandria, Virginia.
Another record-setting "off-year" election for the Libertarian Party, with 39 Libertarians elected to office in November -- including four city council winners: Fred Collins (Berkley, Michigan); Ron Wittig (New Meadows, Idaho); Bob DeBrosse (Piqua, Ohio); and John Gearhart (Palous, Washington). In all, 64 party members join the ranks of Libertarian office-holders during the course of the year.
African-American civil rights leader Roy Innis and talk radio powerhouse Art Bell join the party. In California, Art Olivier becomes mayor of Bellflower, while in Georgia, Dewayne Metheny is elevated to acting mayor of Auburn.
In November, the party sets a new record by running 853 candidates in 44 states. Neil Randall wins election as a State Rep. in Vermont, while Zenneth Caudill and Mary Dufour win partisan office as Jefferson Township Trustees in Indiana. In all, 19 LP candidates are elected.
The party breaks new ground in political activism with its Internet-based campaign against the FDIC's "Know Your Customer" bank spying regulation. After being flooded by 250,000 complaints, the FDIC withdraws the plan.
Party founder David Nolan is named one of the "2,000 Outstanding Intellectuals of the 20th Century" by the International Biographical Centre in England. Fourteen Libertarians are elected to office in local Spring elections, and more than 200 Libertarian candidates are on the ballot in state and local elections in November.
A "Boycott Nosy Census Questions" campaign during the spring generates national newspaper, radio, and TV publicity for the party.
The number of registered Libertarian voters passes 224,000, a 10% increase in less than a year. Folksinger Melanie joins the party. A Rasmussen Research poll reveals that 16% of Americans are ideologically libertarian.
During the year, Libertarians win two Supreme Court cases: Striking down California's "blanket primary" and ending Indiana's random drug-search roadblocks.
The Anaheim, California convention nominates Harry Browne for president and former Bellflower, CA mayor Art Olivier for VP. They head a ticket of 1,436 LP candidates, including 256 candidates for U.S. House -- the first time in 80 years a third party has contested a majority of Congressional seats.
In one of the closest elections in American history, the LP presidential ticket gets 382,892 votes. However, 34 Libertarians are elected to office, Massachusetts U.S. Senate candidate Carla Howell wins a record 11.9% of the vote, and the LP's candidates for U.S. House win 1.6 million votes -- a new record for any third party.
It was the most successful year ever for Libertarians as they elected 96 people to public office. The number of Libertarians in elective office increased to 301, a jump of 45% in a single year; and the total number of Libertarians in public office rose to 522.
Newspapers and political websites published a whopping 141 Libertarian opinion pieces during the year –- an increase of 200% over the previous year’s 46 publications.
On December 11 the Libertarian Party celebrated its 30th anniversary. The Party has grown from a handful of people meeting in David Nolan’s living room to hundreds of elected officials, thousands of candidates, tens of thousands of contributors, hundreds of thousands of registered voters –- millions of Libertarian voters.
The Libertarian Party ran more than 1,642 candidates – the largest slate of candidates ever for the Libertarian Party and the largest for any third party since World War II. That’s almost twice as many as the 845 candidates the Party ran in 1998.
US House candidates polled over 1 million votes for the second time in two election cycles making the Libertarian Party the only other party in history to do so other than Democrats and Republicans.
The “Incumbent Killer” strategy was used to control elections the LP could not yet win. It led to the defeat of Republican Congressman Bob Barr and Democratic Senator Max Cleland. It was also credited with controlling the outcome of the governor’s races in Alabama, Wisconsin, and Oregon, and the US Senate race in South Dakota.
Massachusetts Libertarians gathered 101,000 signatures to put a measure eliminating the state income tax on the ballot. On Election Day voters sent shock waves through the media-political establishment when, even with heavy opposition from Democrats and Republicans, 45 percent of the electorate supported it.
2002 Libertarian Party national convention in Indianapolis, Indiana.
The Libertarian Party clawed its way out of a $400,000 debt helped along by the recession and the aftermath of the September 11 terror attacks and into financial solvency.
Even though it was an off-year election, the LP racked up 46 victories –- over half of them coming in higher level offices such as city and county council, increasing the upward march of Libertarian office-holders. In Michigan, Libertarians were re-elected to city council seats and in 5 states Republican and Democrat incumbents were booted from theirs. As 2003 drew to a close, over 600 Libertarians were serving in public office nationwide.
The LP also saved taxpayers more than $2.1 billion in a single day, defeating: a $1.3 billion sales tax hike in Florida, a proposal to finance a light-rail system and other transportation boondoggles in Arizona, a grocery tax in Colorado, and a property tax hike in Santa Clara County, California.
2004 Libertarian Party national convention in Atlanta, Georgia. Debate among candidates Michael Badnarik, Aaron Russo and Gary Nolan.
Party membership rebounded with an increase of 4.5 percent over 2003.
The Libertarian Party nominated Michael Badnarik as their 2004 presidential nominee during the national convention in Atlanta. The LP presidential campaign unveiled Project New Mexico, where they would find a swing state with an inexpensive media market and saturated it with a 10-day ad blitz. After the completion of Project New Mexico, Badnarik's poll numbers quickly rose 5 percent.
American voters were able to vote for the Libertarian Party candidate in 48 states. This led all third parties: Ralph Nader got on only 39 ballots, the Constitution Party got on 35 and the Greens, just 27.
The Libertarian Party generated considerable media attention. In an October 24th New York Times column, John Tierney gave a lengthy mention of Michael Badnarik's campaign.
Four days later, Badnarik appeared on MSNBC's "Countdown" show, where he reached a national audience to push the libertarian message.

In June the Libertarian Party released the "Iraq Exit Strategy: America's Path Forward", a comprehensive plan to withdraw American troops from Iraqi soil, while empowering the Iraqi people with the ability to rule their own nation.
In August the LP transitioned from a members-based organization to a donors-based organization with the passage of the Zero Dues Resolution. The party's new focus will be electing Libertarians to office. This move proved to be highly controversial within the party.
In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, the Libertarian Party did its part to help out the relief effort by "adopting" the town of Franklin, Louisiana. The LP national office was in contact with Franklin's community leaders to determine their specific needs. A call was put out to members across the country who responded with their own aid.

Party Logos

Party Registration

Voter registration statistics as reported by various state government web sites, Ballot Access News, and

1980 1982 1984 1986 1988 1990 1992 1994 1996 1998 2000 2002 2004 2006 2008 2010 2012 2014 2016
Alaska 1,282 3,226 6,871 7,228 7,258 8,787 6,926 8,984 7,719 7,182 7,557
Arizona 2,839 3,721 3,965 4,937 4,632 5,299 7,574 18,418 17,466 12,576 14,259 18,261 17,446 18,153 24,382 22,086 26,589 31,358
Arkansas 322
California 86,193 73,442 64,299 53,267 49,075 50,782 71,148 69,951 77,675 82,079 94,937 90,495 89,617 84,093 83,574 91,111 108,736 120,804 139,805
Colorado 576 753 1,033 1,258 1,660 1,945 2,420 3,201 4,259 5,543 6,078 6,555 11,075 10,549 19,585 26,746 37,880
Connecticut 29 70 149 653 741 789 840 987 1,295 1,603 1,780 2,561
Delaware 198 227 166 344 466 566 648 738 762 776 756 756 858 908 1,116 1,519
D. C. 401 918
Florida 650 1,336 1,516 2,909 3,585 5,509 7,037 9,462 11,852 13,806 15,533 16,883 17,888 19,892 23,665 28,287
Idaho 1,312 3,856 5,229
Iowa 762 1,416 2,203 4,632 8,366
Kansas 531 4,204 5,508 9,829 9,773 9,973 9,416 9,432 9,038 9,786 10,088 11,373 12,993 13,586
Kentucky 341 997 1,661 2,615 4,418 7,456
Louisiana 175 219 325 360 691 1,016 1,170 1,432 2,541 2,669 3,877 6,889 10,478 14,088
Maine 1,048 5,388
Maryland 328 350 2,692 3,785 4,021 6,578 2,626 4,390 7,058 8,996 11,289 14,771 19,343
Massachusetts 204 333 8,157 7,610 16,071 20,578 23,900 19,253 12,534 15,857 13,336 10,920 8,846
Nebraska 214 194 234 64 1,790 3,405 4,717 453 320 3,117 5,719 11,214
Nevada 676 1,003 673 692 739 1,125 2,315 2,847 3,833 4,819 4,715 4,891 6,240 6,088 6,776 6,807 8,448 9,739 13,381
New Hampshire 3,289 3,330 3,207 3,207
New Jersey 208 448 543 1,023 1,387 1,899 2,490 5,391
New Mexico 123 190 1,407 1,183 3,787 4,974 2,805 2,172 2,240 3,541 3,129 5,714
New York 362 1,061 1,545 2,680 3,874 5,376 7,128
North Carolina 489 560 677 1,472 2,585 4,754 6,909 8,903 12,831 3,637 9,254 19,347 25,651 32,097
North Dakota
Oklahoma 875 444 141 703 286 689 3,599
Oregon 3,800 10,102 11,946 13,663 12,929 16,971 15,330 13,736 13,469 15,434 17,825 19,065
Pennsylvania 4,408 13,770 23,095 30,248 34,258 36,070 36,509 38,031 36,353 47,501 48,966
Rhode Island
South Carolina
South Dakota 346 469 656 924 1,074 1,148 1,091 1,157 1,059 1,080 1,126 1,373 1,620
Utah 1,836 2,556 2,904 2,639 4,110 5,494 7,168 11,728
West Virginia 420 964 1,360 1,448 1,854 4,679
Wyoming 54 75 78 53 181 229 246 281 328 452 878 1,288 1,139 1,862 1,615
Total 92,760 78,166 72,839 54,712 57,195 60,010 100,561 102,301 162,545 182,521 224,676 207,483 259,440 235,983 242,587 278,988 330,766 400,027 498,706
States Reporting 11 3 12 3 6 7 18 14 19 20 21 21 23 21 24 25 26 26 & DC 29 & DC

See Also


  2. Affectionately known among rank and file members as the "Chicken on a Stick" or "Flaming Chicken"