Nick Galifianakis (politician)

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Nick Galifianakis
Nick Galifianakis.jpg
Member of the
U.S. House of Representatives
from North Carolina
In office
January 3, 1967 – January 3, 1973
Preceded byRalph J. Scott
Succeeded byIke F. Andrews
Constituency5th district (1967–69)
4th district (1969–73)
Member of the
North Carolina House of Representatives
from Durham County
In office
February 8, 1961 – February 8, 1967
Preceded bymulti-member district
Succeeded bymulti-member district
Personal details
Born (1928-07-22) July 22, 1928 (age 94)
Durham, North Carolina, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
SpouseLou Galifianakis
RelativesZach Galifianakis (nephew)
Nick Galifianakis (nephew)
Residence(s)Raleigh, North Carolina, U.S.
EducationDuke University (BA, LLB)[1]
OccupationAttorney, college professor
Military service
Allegiance United States
Branch/serviceUnited States Marine Corps Reserve
Years of service1953-1956

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

Life and career[edit]

Galifianakis was born in Durham, North Carolina, the son of Greek immigrants Sophia (née Kastrinakis) and Mike Galifianakis.[3][4] 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 House of Representatives in 1960.[5] 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. After the state was forced to conduct a mid-decade redistricting for the 1968 elections, however, 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 U.S. Senate 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."[6][7] 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.[8]

Ultimately, Helms pulled away and defeated Galifianakis by eight points. Galifianakis sought the Democratic nomination for the U.S. Senate in 1974 but lost, 50%–32%, to Robert Morgan, the state's attorney general, who went on to win the seat in the general election.

Personal life[edit]

After leaving politics, Galifianakis returned to his law practice in Durham, only retiring in his mid 80s.[9] 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 actor and comedian Zach Galifianakis.[10]


  1. ^ "Mr. Nick Galifianakis Lawyer Profile on".
  2. ^ Congressional Quarterly Weekly Report, Volume 28, Part 1 (1970)
  3. ^ Zhulin, Denis Larionov & Alexander. "Read the eBook North Carolina manual [serial] (Volume 1967) by North Carolina. Secretary of State online for free (page 40 of 59)". Retrieved 2 August 2016.
  4. ^ "Herald-Journal – Google News Archive Search". Retrieved 2 August 2016.
  5. ^ One on One: Galifianakis – Nick or Zach?
  6. ^ Charlton, Linda (November 8, 1972). "Conservative Republican Victor in North Carolina Senate Race". The New York Times. p. 5.
  7. ^ Hunter, Marjorie (October 28, 1972). "Major Races in North Carolina Seem Close". The New York Times. p. 14.
  8. ^ Hunter, Marjorie (28 October 1972). "Major Races in North Carolina Seem Close". The New York Times. p. 14.
  9. ^ "Nick Galifianakis '53 and John Semonche '67". Duke University School of Law.
  10. ^ "Zach Galifianakis Stars In 'The Hangover'". NPR. Retrieved 2 August 2016.

External links[edit]

U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from North Carolina's 5th congressional district

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

January 3, 1969 – January 3, 1973
Succeeded by
Party political offices
Preceded by Democratic Party nominee for
United States Senator from North Carolina (Class 2)

Succeeded by
U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded byas Former US Representative Order of precedence of the United States
as Former US Representative
Succeeded byas Former US Representative