Nick Galifianakis (politician)

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Nick Galifianakis
Nick Galifianakis.jpg
Galifianakis during his time in Congress
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from North Carolina's 4th district
In office
January 3, 1969 – January 3, 1973
Preceded by James Carson Gardner
Succeeded by Ike F. Andrews
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from North Carolina's 5th district
In office
January 3, 1967 – January 3, 1969
Preceded by Ralph J. Scott
Succeeded by Wilmer Mizell
Personal details
Born (1928-07-22) July 22, 1928 (age 86)
Durham, North Carolina
Political party Democratic
Residence Durham, North Carolina
Alma mater Duke University
Occupation Attorney, college professor
Religion Greek Orthodox

Nick Galifianakis (born July 22, 1928) is a former Democratic U.S. Congressman from North Carolina who served between 1967 and 1973.

Life and career[edit]

Galifianakis was born in Durham, North Carolina, the son of Greek immigrants Sophia (née Kastrinakis) and Mike Galifianakis.[1][2] Galifianakis attended local public schools and then Duke University, earning a bachelor's degree in 1951 and a law degree in 1953. After serving in the United States Marine Corps Reserve from October 1953 to April 1956, he was admitted to the bar and practiced law in Durham. In 1960, he became an assistant professor of business law at Duke and was elected to the North Carolina General Assembly in 1961. Galifianakis left both positions when elected to the United States Congress in 1966. For his first term, he represented the 5th District, which stretched from his home in Durham through Winston-Salem all the way to Stokes County on the Virginia border. However, after the state was forced to conduct a mid-decade redistricting for the 1968 elections, he was placed in the 4th District, a much more compact district stretching from Durham through Chatham County to Raleigh.

Galifianakis sought the Democratic Party nomination for the seat held by Senator B. Everett Jordan in the 1972 election, and defeated him in the primary. While Galifianakis led his Republican challenger, former television commentator Jesse Helms, by a substantial margin for most of the campaign, Helms closed the gap by tying Galifianakis to his party's presidential nominee, George McGovern, and with the late-campaign slogan, "Jesse Helms: He's One of Us," an implicit play suggesting his opponent's Greek heritage made him somehow less "American."[3][4] Galifianakis knew that McGovern wasn't popular in his state and tried to distance himself from him. He also wasn't helped by several conservative Democrats defecting to Helms.[5]

Ultimately, Helms pulled away and defeated Galifianakis by eight points. Galifianakis, like most Southern Democrats, was significantly hurt by Richard Nixon's gigantic landslide in the presidential election. Nixon carried North Carolina by 40 points and won all but two counties in the state.

Two years later Galifianakis sought the Democratic nomination for the U.S. Senate in 1974 but lost overwhelmingly to Robert Morgan, the state's attorney general, by a total of 50% to 32% with the rest scattered amongst other candidates.

After leaving Congress, he resumed his law practice, which continues to this day. Nick currently lives in Durham with his wife Lou.

Since 1997, a nephew of his, also named Nick Galifianakis, has been drawing the satirical cartoons that accompany the advice column "Tell Me About It" in the Washington Post tri-weekly. The column is written by the younger Nick's ex-wife, Carolyn Hax.

He is also the uncle of comedian Zach Galifianakis.[6]


  1. ^
  2. ^,443964&dq=rep-galifianakis-defeats-jordan-in-nc-senate-race&hl=en
  3. ^ Charlton, Linda (November 8, 1972). "Conservative Republican Victor in North Carolina Senate Race". The New York Times. p. 5.
  4. ^ Hunter, Marjorie (October 28, 1972). "Major Races in North Carolina Seem Close". The New York Times. p. 14.
  5. ^ Hunter, Marjorie (28 October 1972). "Major Races in North Carolina Seem Close". The New York Times. p. 14. 
  6. ^

External links[edit]

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Ralph James Scott
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from North Carolina's 5th congressional district

January 3, 1967–January 3, 1969
Succeeded by
Wilmer D. Mizell
Preceded by
James Carson Gardner
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from North Carolina's 4th congressional district

January 3, 1969–January 3, 1973
Succeeded by
Ike F. Andrews
Party political offices
Preceded by
B. Everett Jordan
Democratic Party nominee for
United States Senator from North Carolina (Class 2)

Succeeded by
John Ingram