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Gary Johnson Receives Endorsement from Record-Setting Presidential Candidate Ed Clark

Press Release from Gary Johnson 2016

vote libertarian Ed Clark

April 19, 2016, Salt Lake City, UT — Ed Clark, the Libertarian Party’s candidate for President in 1980, has endorsed Gov. Gary Johnson for the Libertarian Party presidential nomination.

Clark won a record vote for an LP presidential candidate, gaining more than 920,000 votes. Clark’s vote reached 12% in Alaska, and in one county-level jurisdiction Clark’s vote topped 19.5%, beating the incumbent President Jimmy Carter.

Clark won the 1980 nomination after securing more than 377,000 votes for governor of California in 1978, helping to secure major party status for the LP in the nation’s most populous state.

Endorsing Gov. Johnson for the LP nomination for president, Clark remarked, “I am happy to endorse Gary Johnson for the Libertarian Presidential nomination. I am confident that his experience in 2012 will make him an even more effective campaigner in 2016.”


  1. Robert capozzi Robert capozzi April 23, 2016

    L, fair enough. If the practice of what one preaches is SO difficult to achieve that even the Fountainhead Himself fails to do so in a spectacular Fail, it may be speak I’ll of his character. Or it may expose the dogma as a setup for failure.

    I would suggest the latter makes more sense. The “logic” is full of holes…a different kind of “holy.” 😉

  2. langa langa April 23, 2016

    …the SoP is defended by some as a kind of 10 commandments…

    I haven’t heard anyone say that they believe in the SOP because Hospers said it was true. It’s not an argument from authority. Those of us who believe in the SOP/NAP do so because of its inherent logic. That logic is no less true, regardless of who happens to give voice to it.

    To give another example, Reagan expressed quite a few libertarian ideas, and did so rather eloquently. His complete failure to practice what he preached didn’t invalidate those ideas. It simply made him a hypocrite, and therefore, a poor choice to act as messenger. The same is true of Hospers.

  3. robert capozzi robert capozzi April 23, 2016

    L, good example, EXCEPT the SoP is defended by some as a kind of 10 commandments, and so clear that you’d think the author IN THE SAME YEAR could toe the plumbline better than he did.

    TJ’s hypocrisies and contradictions less stark, since many at the time believed slaves and women were not men with inalienable rights, for ex.

    JH’s deviations are more like Moses coming down the mountain with the 10 Commandments and then immediately murdering someone and then schtupping someone’s wife.

  4. langa langa April 23, 2016

    Doesn’t that call into question his handiwork itself?

    Of course not. Ideas stand on their own merits. Look at Jefferson. He wrote a lot of good stuff. The fact that he was a slave owner and a crappy President doesn’t change that.

  5. robert capozzi robert capozzi April 23, 2016

    L: Some of [Hospers’s answers] were not only non-libertarian, but downright cringeworthy.

    Me: A possible chink in the armor? Let’s see. Wasn’t Hospers in that timeframe also the author of the booby-trapped SoP? And yet the author of those Most Holy Words could not toe the NAP line even when the ink was still wet?

    Doesn’t that call into question his handiwork itself?

  6. langa langa April 22, 2016

    That’s interesting, Andy.

    I wonder if he smoked weed back when he answered that questionnaire. If so, that’s pretty hypocritical.

  7. Andy Andy April 22, 2016

    I was petitioning in California back in the early 2000’s, and a guy who was in his late teens or early 20’s stopped to sign my petitions. During the course of conversation I brought up that i am a Libertarian. The guy signing responded with, “My next door neighbor is a famous Libertarian.” I asked him who it was. He replied, “John Hospers.” and then he added, “That old man sure smokes a lot of ganja.”

  8. langa langa April 22, 2016

    John Hospers started making crazy endorsements in his final years too.

    Speaking of Hospers, the more I learn about him, the less convinced I am that he was ever much of a libertarian in the first place. For example, I recently stumbled across this article, detailing some of the responses he gave to a questionnaire, during his 1972 LP campaign. Some of them were not only non-libertarian, but downright cringeworthy. For example, he says that he favors the use of electronic surveillance, in order to combat “the illicit drug trade” and other victimless crimes. He comes off as more of a conservatarian, at best.

  9. George Whitfield George Whitfield April 20, 2016

    Andy and Gene Berkman: You fellows are very knowledgeable about California politics. Thanks for describing those events so well.

  10. Gene Berkman Gene Berkman April 20, 2016

    Andy – thanks for giving details on the situation in California during the 20013 recall election.

    Just a minor correction – in 2008 Tom McClintock was California Chair for the Fred Thompson for President campaign. After Fred Thompson dropped out, McClintock hinted he would endorse Ron Paul, but he never came out with an endorsement before the primary.

    Ron Paul did endorse Tom McClintock for Congress in 2008, but McClintock is still more of a Republican than Ron Paul. Maybe more like Rand Paul.

  11. Andy Andy April 20, 2016

    Question mark at the end of the first sentence above about McClintock should be a period.

  12. Andy Andy April 20, 2016

    I voted for Tom McClintock for Governor of California in the 2003 Gray Davis Recall election?

    McClintock was a libertarian leaning Republican, and he had been a leading voice for liberty in the California legislature. He advocated in favor of spending limits and cuts, tax cuts (he was the only elected official who talked about eliminating the state income tax), government employee pension reform, merit based pay for government school teachers, gun rights, and he even came out in favor of marijuana legalization.

    The LP of California had an excellent opportunity to get ahead with that recall election, if the party had come up with a decent candidate, but the LP of CA failed to do this. There were 3 Libertarians who ran in that recall election, and all 3 were nobodies and oddballs. The one that won the endorsement of the LP of CA owned a small chain of tobacco shops, and his big campaign issue was to repeal tobacco taxes. His website featured a picture of himself on the front page holding up a pack of cigarettes while standing in front if one of his tobacco shops. I am not opposed to repealing tobacco taxes, but out of all of the issues out there, this is not something I would prioritize or make into a big campaign issue.

    So being that the LP of CA failed to take advantage of the big publicity opportunity that the recall election presented (note that the Green Party nominated Peter Camejo, and they did take advantage of the publicity) by recruiting and nominating a better candidate, a lot of Libertarians, myself included, voted for Tom McClintock.

    Tom McClintock was often referred to as being the Ron Paul of the California legislature, but I will say that he became a bit of a disappointment after he got elected to the US House. McClintock disappointed me when he did not endorse Ron Paul fir President in 2008 or 2012 (he endorsed McCain and Romney in the primaries).

    So McClintock is by no means perfect, but you have to consider the circumstances that led to some libertarians supporting him.

  13. Jill Pyeatt Jill Pyeatt Post author | April 20, 2016

    Ed and Alicia Clark surprised us by showing up at our monthly regional meeting one night several years ago, and he certainly appeared to be just fine. It seems like it was 4 or 5 years ago, though.

    No one that I’ve asked knows if they still live in Pasadena, however.

  14. Steve m Steve m April 20, 2016

    Tom, not very flattering of you to post aspersions about the mental state of Ed Clark. You disagree with him fine. But unless you interact with him regularly your opinion of his mental state is worthless and bordering on insulting.

    The time I met Mr Clark at a CA Libertarian diner where he was the main attraction. He came across as highly intelligent, articulate and entertaining.

  15. Tony from Long Island Tony from Long Island April 20, 2016

    ” . . . .Where’s the source for his endorsement and his performance in the county jurisdiction? . . . ”
    Public information, such as election results shouldn’t need a source.

    If you look for a candidate that you agree with on 100% of issues you will ALWAYS be disappointed. Just look at me, I voted for Bernie in the primary yesterday but will likely vote for Gary Johnson in November

  16. Thomas L. Knapp Thomas L. Knapp April 20, 2016

    “Tom – at least Ed Clark never endorsed Lester Maddox.”

    That we know of, anyway.

    Did he endorse McClintock or Campbell or support “Libertarians for” them?

  17. George Whitfield George Whitfield April 19, 2016

    I voted for Ed Clark in 1980 and look forward to voting for Gary Johnson in 2016.

  18. Gene Berkman Gene Berkman April 19, 2016

    Tom – at least Ed Clark never endorsed Lester Maddox.

  19. Gene Berkman Gene Berkman April 19, 2016

    You are correct, Andy. Ed Clark qualified for the ballot as an Independent candidate for Governor in 1978. His vote did not qualify The Libertarian Party for ballot status. A registration drive the following year, finished with The Libertarian Party having 89,000 registered voters on January 1, 1980, qualifying The Libertarian Party for ongoing ballot status in California. 61,000 registered Libertarians were required.

  20. Andy Andy April 19, 2016

    I thought Ed Clark was on the ballot in the 1978 California Governor’s race as an independent, because the Libertarian Party did not have ballot status in California at that time.

    I know that the LP did a big voter registration drive in California, but I am pretty sure that it did not get them party status until 1980.

  21. Thomas L. Knapp Thomas L. Knapp April 19, 2016

    Very sad, but not that remarkable. John Hospers started making crazy endorsements in his final years too.

  22. Leonardo Quevedo Leonardo Quevedo April 19, 2016

    Where’s the source for his endorsement and his performance in the county jurisdiction?

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