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The name game

With the Bush transition in full swing, names for spots at the FCC and National Telecommunications Information Administration are popping up like mushrooms after the rain.

There is still talk that FCC Commissioner Michael Powell will get outgoing Chairman William Kennard's chairmanship while Texas Public Utility Commission Chairman Pat Wood will get Kennard's seat. Washington observers expect Commissioner Harold Furchtgott-Roth to exit soon, opening up a third Republican spot that is likely to be chosen by one of several Capitol Hill factions.

Topping the list is Earl Comstock, former legislative director for Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Ted Stevens (R-Alaska). Comstock works for Washington law firm Sher & Blackwell. Michigan Governor John Engler is pushing attorney Richard McClellan of Lansing law firm Dykenna Gossett, sources say. Howard Waltzman, a staffer for Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kans.), is another name being floated. And Kevin Martin, the head of the FCC transition team and a former Furchtgott-Roth staffer, also comes up often as a candidate.

As for the NTIA, industry executives say they are encouraging James Derderian, former staff director for former House Commerce Committee Chairman Tom Bliley (R-Va.), to go for the top spot at NTIA. Derderian, known as "J.D.," is heading Bush's NTIA transition team, and sources report he's not too sure he's interested in the job. Paul Misener, lobbyist and another former Furchtgott-Roth staffer, took himself out of consideration for the NTIA post.