James David Santini, born on August 13, 1937 and died September 22, 2015, he was a United States Representative from Nevada.
Santini was born in Reno, Nevada and attended the University of Nevada, Reno where he was a member of Alpha Tau Omega fraternity.
He was a lawyer before entering politics. He served as Nevada district court judge.
James was elected to the US House in 1974, easily unseating incumbent Republican David Towell.
He served there from 1975 to 1983, as a Democrat representing the state’s at-large district. In Congress, Santini compiled a moderate-to-conservative record and won reelection by overwhelming margins.
James ran for United States Senate in 1982, but was narrowly defeated in the Democratic primary by incumbent Howard Cannon. Cannon then lost the general election to former state Senator Chic Hecht.
James is the last person to represent the entire state in the US House, as reapportionment gave Nevada two Congressional seats as of the 1982 Congressional election.
He was succeeded by Democrat Harry Reid and Republican Barbara Vucanovich in the newly created 1st and 2nd Congressional Districts respectively.
In 1986, he switched to the Republican Party and ran for the Senate seat vacated by the retiring Paul Laxalt.
Although Santini won the Republican nomination easily, he was defeated in the general election by Reid. Santini received 47% of the vote.
Today, Santini continues to work in Washington, D.C. as a lobbyist representing a number of tourism-related interests.
Among his major clients is the National Tour Association, which retains him as a legislative counsel for government issues related to the national and international tourism industry.
James has been the federal legislation and regulation Washington, D.C., representative for NTA since 1983.
In 1990, James and his family appeared as contestants on the nighttime version of Family Feud.
One of his aides appeared in a 1980 episode of the series and mentioned his name several times.
Show host Richard Dawson made light of the Abscam sting operation during the opening segment of the episode.
His aide confirmed that James was not involved and was a “good guy”.
His aide’s family lost the game to the returning champions.
James David Santini died on September 22, 2015 in Rockville, Maryland from esophageal cancer.