Tennessee Republican regulator Deborah Tate will be nominated to fill one of the open seats on the Federal Communications Commission, the White House announced yesterday. The White House also announced it will renominate Democratic Commissioner Michael Copps, whose term expired in the summer.

A state regulator since 2002 who is backed by Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.), Tate would fill the FCC that will be vacated by Republican Commissioner Kathleen Abernathy, whose term expired last year. Abernathy must leave the agency when Congress adjourns this year.

If the Senate approves the nominations of Tate and Copps, the FCC would remain in a 2-2 situation based on party affiliation. Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) has been searching for a candidate to serve as the third Republican, but two of his previous candidates—Earl Comstock and Christine Kurth—failed to materialize earlier this year for personal reasons.