Huh? Ed Clark didn't win?

The Libertarian victory party at the Planet Cafe on Connecticut Avenue went on anyway.

"Four years ago we would have had 10 people in this room. Now, look," said hostess Jo Ann Willis. She gestured broadly at the 100 or so people filling the four rooms behind her. "That's why we're calling it a victory party. The Libertarians are the party of the future."

A woman, sipping wine, said, "My husband called WTOP to ask them why they didn't have any election coverage of Ed Clark so they announced over the air that Ed Clark had 1 percent of the vote in Virginia."

"1 percent!" gasped another, happily.

Later, Tom Palmer, a regional coordinator for the Libertarian Party, recited his national estimates on returns. More cheers, as the Libertarians racked up votes in Alabama.

Where else did they hope to do well?

"Alaska," Palmer said. "We have some great pictures of folks campaigning on horseback in the North. The horses have 'Clark for President' banners on them. If we get more than a million votes nationwide, I'll turn handsprings in the streets of D.C.!"

The tally in Alaska eventually turned out to be about 26 percent for Carter and 13 percent for Clark. The Libertarians did, however, win the office of the mayor of Bakersfield, Calif. Mary Shell, a former journalist, got "hotted-up about Libertarianism, quit her job and won," said Palmer. "We're pretty happy about that Bakersfield. It's a pretty fair-sized city."