SEATTLE, SEPT. 5 -- Ron Paul, a former Republican congressman from Texas, defeated American Indian activist Russell Means by 76 votes today to become the Libertarian Party's 1988 presidential candidate.

After Means declined to be nominated for vice president, former Alaska state representative Andre Marrou won the nomination on a noisy voice vote from the 400 delegates.

Paul was nominated on the first ballot. Many political watchers had expected the race to be closer. Paul had 196 votes, four more than needed to win.

Means received 120 votes, followed by Jim Lewis of Connecticut with 49 and Harry Glenn of Indiana and Marrou, each with three votes.

Fourteen delegates voted for the party's perennial favorite, "none of the above."

Paul, a House member from Houston from 1976 to 1984, is an obstetrician who broke with the Republican Party last winter, saying that he was frustrated that its conservative element had not fulfilled its promises of the early 1980s, including a balanced budget.

Means was a leader of the 71-day occupation of the reservation village of Wounded Knee in South Dakota in 1973. He was acquitted of murder charges stemming from a killing during a barroom fight in Scenic, S.D., in 1975.