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Semonche recalls 1972 Helms-Galifianakis race

This is the book jacket for John E. Semonche’s “Pick Nick” biography of Nick Galifianakis.
This is the book jacket for John E. Semonche’s “Pick Nick” biography of Nick Galifianakis. Special to The Herald-Sun

Some North Carolinians still talk about the 1972 election when Jesse Helms won the U.S. Senate seat he was to keep for 30 years and thereby transformed North Carolina politics.

Others remember how that election interrupted the upward trajectory of one of North Carolina’s most promising and most interesting political figures, Nick Galifianakis.

Thanks to his neighbor and retired UNC-Chapel Hill history professor John Semonche, we have a full life story of this son of Greek immigrants who made his hard-to-spell last name a North Carolina classic.

Semonche’s book, “Pick Nick: The Political Odyssey of Nick Galifianakis from Immigrant Son to Congressman” introduces modern North Carolinians to one of our state’s most interesting political figures.

EDITOR’S NOTES: D.G. Martin hosts “North Carolina Bookwatch” Sundays at noon and Thursdays at 5 p.m. on WUNC-TV. This week, author John Semonche talks about “Pick Nick: The Political Odyssey of Nick Galifianakis from Immigrant Son to Congressman,” Sunday, May 28 and Thursday, June 1.

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