James W. Nye (June 10, 1815 - December 25, 1876) was a United States Senator from Nevada. Born in DeRuyter, New York, he attended the common schools and Homer Academy in Homer, New York; he studied law in Troy, New York, was admitted to the bar, and practiced in Madison County. Nye was district attorney in 1839 and served as judge of Madison County from 1840 to 1848. He was an unsuccessful Free-Soiler candidate for election to the Thirtieth Congress in 1846, and was first president of New York City's Metropolitan Board of Police, holding that office from 1857 to 1860.
In 1861, Nye was appointed by President Abraham Lincoln as Governor of the newly created Nevada Territory; upon the admission of Nevada as a state into the Union in 1864, he was elected as a Republican to the U.S. Senate; he was reelected in 1867 and served from December 16, 1864, to March 3, 1873. He was an unsuccessful candidate for reelection. While in the Senate, Nye was chairman of the Committee on Enrolled Bills (Thirty-ninth Congress) and a member of the Committees on Revolutionary Claims (Fortieth Congress) and Territories (Forty-first Congress). He died in White Plains, New York in 1876 and was interred in Woodlawn Cemetery, New York City.
Nye County, Nevada, the largest county in the state, is named for James W. Nye.