President Bush said Wedensday that he intends to nominate Tennessee state regulator Deborah Taylor Tate, a Republican, to serve on the Federal Communications Commission, according to a White House
Bush also said he intendes to renominate Democrat Michael Copps for a new five-year term at the agency.
In a surprise move, Bush did not nominate Richard Russell, the White House's associate director in the Office of Science and Technology Policy, the source said. Russell's name surfaced as a potential nominee in late July.
Tate is a director of the Tennessee Regulatory Authority, appointed to a six-year term in 2002 by Gov. Don Sundquist, a former House Republican. She has a bachelor of arts and a law degree from the University of Tennessee.
Assuming quick confirmation, Tate would give Republicans a 3-2 majority at the commission. When former FCC chairman Michael Powell left in March, the FCC was divided 2-2 between Republicans and Democrats, hurting current chairman Kevin Martin's ability to drive his agenda forward.
However, Martin's one-vote majority could be short-lived. Under law, FCC member Kathleen Abernathy, a Republican, has to leave the agency when Congress adjourns later this year.
Copps' new term would end in June 2010 and Tate's in June 2007.