Kariotis was the son of Greek immigrants. He graduated from Northeastern University in 1940, and then served in the United States Navy during World War II. In 1962, he founded Alpha Industries, a manufacturer of microwave components. He was Massachusetts Secretary of Economic Affairs from 1979 to 1983 under governor Edward J. King.
Kariotis ran a write-in campaign in the 1986 Republican primary for Massachusetts governor, and finished third with 17% of the vote. He became the nominee when the two candidates who finished ahead of him Royall H. Switzler and Greg Hyatt both withdrew from the race due to personal scandals. In the general election, he was defeated by Michael Dukakis by a margin of 69% to 31%.
Kariotis was a major donor to Northeastern University and an emeritus vice-chairman of the university's board of trustees.
- Marquard, Bryan (July 18, 2013). "George Kariotis, 90, of Eastham; high-tech exec ran against Dukakis". Boston Globe. Retrieved June 16, 2014.
- Fox Butterfield, New Candidate Raises Questions for G.O.P. in Massachusetts. New York Times, July 26, 1986 (subscription required for Web access).
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