Tennessee Governor prepared to call special session if Speaker Glen Casada doesn't resign
House Republicans voted 45 -24 that they no longer have confidence in Speaker Glen Casada on Monday. Following the controversial vote, Tennessee Governor Bill Lee said he plans to call a special session if Casada does not resign.
"Today House Republicans sent a clear message, and I'm prepared to call a special session if the Speaker doesn't resign," Governor Lee tweeted.
House Majority Leader William Lamberth tells FOX 17 News it's time for the embattled speaker to step down.
“Today the House Republican Caucus met and sent a strong message that we have lost confidence in Speaker Glen Casada," Lamberth said. "I have waited until now to make a statement on my personal position on this matter to allow the Caucus time to meet and deliberate. After today's vote, it is time for the Speaker to resign, and I hereby request Governor Lee call a special session by the end of June for the House to choose a new Speaker.”
The Tennessee Black Caucus of State Legislators has renewed its call for Casada to resign and demanded that Governor Lee call the General Assembly into special session.
"The 111th Tennessee General Assembly cannot properly attend to the 'The People’s Business' and advance the State of Tennessee until 'The People’s House' is in proper order," the caucus said. "Speaker Casada must resign now, and Governor Lee must call the General Assembly into special session either to remove Casada if he does not resign or effectively respond to the consequences if he does resign."
Despite many resignation requests, the speaker insists he's not going anywhere.
Casada issued a statement about the House GOP vote, "I’m disappointed in the results of today’s caucus vote. However, I will work the next few months to regain the confidence of my colleagues so we can continue to build on the historic conservative accomplishments of this legislative session.”
Calls for Casada's removal come after a statehouse scandal sparked when texts between Casada and his former Chief of Staff Cade Cothren surfaced, exposing sexist and racist comments.
Text records obtained by the House Democratic Caucus show the following exchanges:
Casada joked with his former Chief of Staff Cade Cothren about a picture of a woman dancing on a pole, asking Cothren at one point, “Can I just touch?” and saying “nice pics”.
In another text, Casada and Cothren are accused of joking about how long a sexual encounter Cothren claimed to have with a woman lasted. Casada asked Cothren, “R u a minute man?” Cothren responded by saying, “Yes, I take after you. Like Father, like son.”
Another exchange between the two allegedly included Cothren using a racist meme that was labeled “black people” when referring to a West Tennessee voting district.
Cothren resigned following accusations that he also used illegal drugs in the legislative building and solicited sex from an intern.
FOX 17 News will continue to update this story as it develops.