1984 Libertarian Election Results

1984 Libertarian Presidential Campaign

The 1983 Libertarian national convention nominated David Bergland for president and Jim Lewis for vice president. Bergland was a Costa Mesa, California, lawyer, had been the Libertarian 1976 vice presidential candidate, and served as party chair from 1977 to 1981. Lewis was a salesman and tax protester.

Radio talk show host Gene Burns had been the frontrunner for the presidential nomination, but withdrew a week before the convention when he decided the party didn't have enough funding for a strong campaign.

The delegates quickly centered around Bergland as representative of the party's radical wing, and Earl Ravenal as representative of the more moderate Cato Institute-oriented wing. After Ravenal lost, many of his supporters left the party.

Many states had tightened ballot access laws after strong independent and Libertarian showings in the 1980 presidential election. As a result, the Bergland/Lewis ticket was on only 40 ballots and won 228,314 votes. This was the first and so far only time the Libertarian Party presidential candidate had the third highest candidate vote total. (The party has had the third highest party total -- excluding independents -- for most elections.)

Sources: Richard Brookhiser's "Saving the UOS," National Review, 35:1274; Facts on File, 21 December 1984, 967 B1.