While not widely known outside the Libertarian Party, Mary Ruwart has been a familiar presence to party insiders for decades.
A pharmacological researcher by profession, Ruwart has three times sought a place on the Libertarian Party’s presidential ticket. She sought the vice-presidential nomination in both 1984 and 1992, and the presidential nomination in 2008.
She is best known for being the runner-up to former Republican Congressman Bob Barr in the 2008 presidential contest. After six dramatic and contentious ballots in a crowded field, Ruwart was ultimately the last candidate standing in opposition to Barr.
Barr’s campaign went on to become a disappointment, finishing fourth – behind Barack Obama, John McCain, and Ralph Nader – with 523,686 votes, or 0.4 percent of the total. And he has become a fairly unpopular figure within the radical element of the Libertarian Party membership. Yet, many have fond memories of Ruwart as the alternative candidate, representing the party’s ideals and what might have been.