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Theodora Nathalia "Tonie" Nathan (born February 9, 1923) is an American political figure. She is the first woman, as well as the first Jewish person, to have received an electoral vote in a United States presidential election. She was the 1972 vice presidential nominee of the Libertarian Party and running mate of John Hospers, when Roger MacBride, a Republican elector from Virginia, cast the historic vote as a faithless elector.[1]


Nathan was born in 1929 to Jewish parents in New York City.[2]

She operated her own insurance agency, a music publishing firm and a decorating service in the Los Angeles area of California before moving to Eugene, Oregon. She earned a bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Oregon in 1971.[3] Nathan then worked as a radio and television producer. She produced and occasionally hosted a daily talk show on KVAL-TV (CBS affiliate) in Eugene.[3]

Political campaigns[]

1972 vice-presidential candidacy[]

At the first presidential nominating convention of the Libertarian Party in 1972, Nathan was nominated by the convention delegates to run for vice president with presidential candidate John Hospers, chairman of the philosophy department at the University of Southern California. While the ticket received only 3,674 official votes out of more than 75 million votes cast,[4]Republican elector Roger MacBride of Virginia chose to vote for Hospers and Nathan instead of Nixon and Agnew. As a result, Nathan became the first woman and the first Jewish person in American history to have received an electoral vote in a presidential election.[1][5]

1976 vice-presidential candidacy[]

Nathan consented to have her name placed into nomination for the Libertarian vice-presidential candidacy in the 1976 presidential election, though she did not actively campaign for the position.[6] She lost that nomination to Jim Lewis.

Senate and House of Representatives campaigns[]

Following her vice-presidential run, which netted the Libertarian party its first electoral vote ever, she made a series of unsuccessful runs as a Libertarian candidate during the 1970s through the 1990s, for offices including the United States Senate and the House of Representatives. In the 1980 Oregon Senate election, Nathan participated in three statewide television debates with then-U.S. Senator Bob Packwood and then-State Senator Ted Kulongoski.[7] She received 43,686 votes for 3.83% of the vote.[8] In 1990 Nathan ran as a Libertarian candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives for Oregon's 4th congressional district. She was the lone challenger to incumbent Congressman Peter DeFazio and received 26,432 votes for 14% of the vote.[9]

Other political activities[]

Nathan is a founding member and former vice chair of the Libertarian Party,[6][3] as well as a founding member and former president of the Association of Libertarian Feminists.[10] She was a speaker at the 2012 Libertarian National Convention, where she also announced Gary Johnson as the 2012 Libertarian Party presidential nominee.[11]


Nathan is married to Charles "Chuck" Nathan, an ASCAP composer who wrote top-ten hit songs in the 1950s. The couple has three sons. [3]

See also[]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Hamowy, Ronald (2008). The Encyclopedia of Libertarianism. SAGE Publications. pp. 347. ISBN 1412965802, 9781412965804.
  2. Elvin, John (September 28, 2000). "Whatever Happened to ...(Tonie Nathan)". Insight on the News via HighBeam Research Template:Subscription required. Retrieved July 31, 2012.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 John, Finn (March 27, 2011). "Libertarian from Eugene was first female VP candidate to get Electoral College vote". Offbeat Oregon. Retrieved July 31, 2012.
  4. "1972 Presidential General Election Results", Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections.
  5. Doherty, Brian (2008). Radicals for Capitalism: A Freewheeling History of the Modern American Libertarian Movement. PublicAffairs. pp. 392-393. ISBN 1586485725, 9781586485726.
  6. 6.0 6.1 "Convention To Receive West Eugene Woman's Name", Eugene Register-Guard. August 22, 1975. Retrieved July 31, 2012.
  7. Willis, Henny (October 19, 1980) "Senate debates were valuable", Eugene Register-Guard. Retrieved July 31, 2012.
  8. "Statistics of the Presidential and Congressional election of November 4, 1980". United States House of Representatives. Retrieved April 6, 2010.
  9. "Statistics of the Congressional election of November 6, 1990". United States House of Representatives. Retrieved April 6, 2010.
  10. Burford, Lori (March 14, 1982) "Nathan pushes Libertarian cause" The Bulletin, Retrieved July 31, 2012.
  11. "Nathan, Tonie: C-SPAN Biographical history", C-SPAN Video Library. Retrieved July 31, 2012.

External links[]


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