After the Tennessee House Republican Caucus passed a no-confidence resolution against Speaker of the House Glen Casada, the Tennessee Republican Party Chairman Scott Golden joined those asking Casada to step down.
Golden released the following statement:
“The events and actions surrounding Speaker Casada have been a distraction from the great accomplishments of this Legislature and Governor Bill Lee. Our Republican leadership in the legislature took the right course of action by calling today’s meeting. The vote of no confidence by the Republican caucus sends a clear message; it is time for the Speaker to heed the advice of the majority of his fellow legislators and step down from his position of leadership and allow someone else to begin the process of restoring the trust of all Tennesseans.”
House Republicans met for several hours on Monday afternoon in a closed meeting at a Nashville hotel. They then voted in a secret ballot on the no-confidence resolution. Caucus leaders said the vote was 45 to 24.
One of the votes for the resolution came from Casada’s Williamson County colleague, Rep. Sam Whitson who nevertheless expressed his fondness for Casada.
“I voted to support the resolution,” Whitson said in a text message. “I had called on Speaker Casada earlier to step aside. I find no joy in the actions we had to take today.”
Casada continued to insist that he will remain as speaker, pledging in a prepared statement to “work the next few months to regain the confidence of my colleagues.”
The controversy over Casada, who represents portions of Williamson County, began when a series of text messages were leaked to NewsChannel5 Reporter Phil Williams. The texts included racist text messages sent by his now-former chief of staff, Cade Cothren, as well as allegations that his office submitted false evidence to Nashville prosecutors that resulted in revoked bail for Justin Jones, a black protester arrested at the Capitol earlier this year. There was also sexual banter between Casada and Cothren in the text messages.
Republican Gov. Bill Lee said earlier Monday that he would consider calling a special session depending on the outcome of the caucus vote, but the lawmakers would need Casada’s own assent to call for a special session themselves.
Majority Leader William Lamberth and Caucus Chairman Cameron Sexton told reporters following the three-hour meeting that they would not seek a special session to remove the speaker, at least for now. Lamberth said there is “not a clear-cut mechanism on the House floor to remove a speaker.”
“We now know how a majority of members of the Republican caucus feel about the allegations that have been made,” Lamberth added.
— NashvillePost.com contributed to this story