Tonie Nathan

Tonie Nathan
Personal details
Born Theodora Nathalia Nathan
(1923-02-09)February 9, 1923
New York City, New York, U.S.
Died March 20, 2014(2014-03-20) (aged 91)
Eugene, Oregon, U.S.
Political party Libertarian
Alma mater University of Oregon

Theodora Nathalia "Tonie" Nathan (February 9, 1923 – March 20, 2014) was an American political figure. She was the first woman, as well as the first Jew, 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 1923 to Jewish parents in New York City.[2] Her last name at birth was Nathan, and she married a man, Charles Nathan, who had the same last name.[3]

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.[4] 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.[4]

Political campaigns

1972 vice-presidential nomination

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,[5] 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 Jew in American history to have received an electoral vote in a presidential election.[1][6]

1976 vice-presidential candidacy

Nathan consented to have her name put forward for the Libertarian vice-presidential nomination in the 1976 presidential election, though she did not actively campaign for the position.[7] 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 U.S. Senate election, Nathan participated in three statewide television debates with incumbent Bob Packwood and then-State Senator Ted Kulongoski.[8] She received 43,686 votes for 3.83% of the vote.[9] 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.[10]

Other political activities

Nathan was a founding member and former vice chair of the Libertarian Party,[4][7] as well as a founding member and former president of the Association of Libertarian Feminists.[11] She was a speaker at the 2012 Libertarian National Convention, where she also announced Gary Johnson as the 2012 Libertarian Party presidential nominee.[12]


Nathan was married to Charles "Chuck" Nathan, an ASCAP composer who wrote top-ten hit songs in the 1950s.[13] Charles died in 2012.[14] The couple had three sons.[3][4]


Nathan died on March 20, 2014 at the age of 91 from Alzheimer's disease.[3][14]


  1. 1 2 Boaz, David (2008). "Nathan, Toni (1923– )". In Hamowy, Ronald. The Encyclopedia of Libertarianism. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE; Cato Institute. p. 347. ISBN 978-1-4129-6580-4. LCCN 2008009151. OCLC 750831024.
  2. Elvin, John (September 28, 2000). "Whatever Happened to ...(Tonie Nathan)". Insight on the News via HighBeam Research (subscription required). Retrieved July 31, 2012.
  3. 1 2 3 "Oregon Libertaian, 1st woman to receive electoral vote, dies at 91". March 20, 2014. Retrieved March 20, 2014.
  4. 1 2 3 4 John, Finn (March 27, 2011). "Libertarian from Eugene was first female VP candidate to get Electoral College vote". Offbeat Oregon. Retrieved July 31, 2012.
  5. "1972 Presidential General Election Results", Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections.
  6. Doherty, Brian (2008). Radicals for Capitalism: A Freewheeling History of the Modern American Libertarian Movement. PublicAffairs. pp. 392–393. ISBN 9781586485726.
  7. 1 2 "Convention To Receive West Eugene Woman's Name", Eugene Register-Guard. August 22, 1975. Retrieved July 31, 2012.
  8. Willis, Henny (October 19, 1980) "Senate debates were valuable", Eugene Register-Guard. Retrieved July 31, 2012.
  9. "Statistics of the Presidential and Congressional election of November 4, 1980" (PDF). United States House of Representatives. Retrieved April 6, 2010.
  10. "Statistics of the Congressional election of November 6, 1990" (PDF). United States House of Representatives. Retrieved April 6, 2010.
  11. Burford, Lori (March 14, 1982) "Nathan pushes Libertarian cause" The Bulletin, Retrieved July 31, 2012.
  12. "Nathan, Tonie: C-SPAN Biographical history", C-SPAN Video Library. Retrieved July 31, 2012.
  13. "Charles Nathan 1921 - 2012". Retrieved March 27, 2016.
  14. 1 2 Wright, Jeff (March 21, 2014). "Libertarian Tonie Nathan dies". The Register-Guard. Retrieved March 21, 2014.
Party political offices
First Libertarian nominee for Vice President of the United States
Succeeded by
David Bergland
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