As expected, President George W. Bush today nominated former CLEC attorney Robert McDowell to the open Republican slot on the Federal Communications Commission.

If confirmed, McDowell would be the third Republican on the five-member commission. In a Republican administration, the partisan makeup of the FCC normally would favor the Republican party. However, the commission has been split evenly since former Chairman Michael Powell resigned in March 2005.

In December, former Tennessee regulator Deborah Tate—a Republican—was named to the commission, and Democratic Commissioner Michael Copps was granted a new term. Tate assumed Powell’s unfinished term, while McDowell would fill the commission spot vacated by former Commissioner Kathleen Abernathy in early December.