Ed Crane

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Edward H. Crane
Crane, Edward Harrison.jpeg
Libertarian National Committee
Predecessor: Susan Nolan
Successor: David Bergland
Personal Details
Birth: (1944-08-15) August 15, 1944 (age 78)
Party: Libertarian Party
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Edward Harrison "Ed" Crane III (born August 15, 1944) was chair of the Libertarian National Committee from 1974 to 1977. He also served as National Director. He is a co-founder and longtime president of the Cato Institute.

Early Life and Career

Edward Harrison Crane III was born August 15, 1944 in Los Angeles. He graduated from the University of California-Berkeley and received an MBA from the University of Southern California.

Crane was influenced by the writings of F. A. Hayek, Ludwig von Mises, and Ayn Rand. In 1964 he was a Goldwater precinct campaign for two precincts in Berkeley. He ran for student body president at Berkeley on a platform of abolishing the student government. He often said that reading The Conservative Mind by Russell Kirk convinced him he wasn’t a conservative.

In 1972 he attended the founding convention of the Libertarian Party and came away as the campaign manager for vice-presidential nominee Tonie Nathan, who became the first woman and first Jewish person in history to receive an electoral vote. He served as National Chair of the party from 1974 to 1977. He recruited Roger MacBride, a lawyer and protégé of Rose Wilder Lane, to be the party’s 1976 nominee, and after the 1975 convention became a full-time party chair and campaign manager.

He went into investment management after college, first at Scudder Stevens & Clark and then at Alliance Capital Management (later AllianceBernstein), until he left in 1975 for what turned out to be permanent libertarian work.


Ed Crane at Alternative '80
  • Hospers and Nathan Presidential Campaign 1972, (Campaign manager for vice-presidential nominee Tonie Nathan)
  • Roger MacBride for President, 1976. Crane served as both national chair and manager of the MacBride campaign. He established the party's first Washington, D.C., office, over the objections of some LNC members. The campaign got on the ballot in 32 states, up from 2 in 1972, and got over 170,000 votes.
  • Ed Clark for Governor of California, 1978 (Campaign Chair). In 1978 Crane recruited Ed Clark to run for governor and then served as campaign chair, with David Boaz and Bob Costello as full-time managers. Clark got 377,960 votes, 5.46% of the popular vote.
  • Clark and Koch Presidential Campaign 1980, (Communications Director). After Clark's showing in the gubernatorial race, Crane encouraged him to run for president and recruited support for him. Formally the communications director, he was effectively the campaign manager. The campaign raised some $3.5 million and gained ballot status in all 50 states plus the District of Columbia. The campaign aired five-minute ads on national network TV. In a report on the campaign, Crane and national coordinator Chris Hocker wrote, "We think it's fair to say that the Clark campaign established the Libertarian Party as the largest, best known, best organized, and most credible of any American third party now in existence."

Organizational Positions

Libertarian Party
  • Chair (1974—1977)
  • Vice-Chair (1972—1974)


Preceded by:
Susan Nolan
Libertarian Party National Chair
Succeeded by:
David Bergland

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