NASHVILLE - A majority of Tennessee House Republican lawmakers said Monday evening they no longer have confidence in embattled GOP House Speaker Glen Casada to lead the chamber.
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The 73-member Republican Caucus approved the motion 45-24. It needed a majority of those present for approval, according to GOP leaders.
After the vote, Casada indicated he's not ready to give up.
"I'm disappointed in the results of today's caucus vote," the speaker said in a statement. "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."
But Tennessee Republican Party Chairman Scott Golden said it's time for Casada, who only became speaker in January, to go, saying the "events and actions surrounding Speaker Casada have been a distraction from the great accomplishments of this Legislature and Governor Bill Lee.
"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," Golden said.
"I am hopeful Speaker Casada will put the legislature, the party and the state first and heed the call of his colleagues."
Meanwhile, Republican Lt. Gov. Randy McNally, the Senate speaker who earlier said Casada should resign, issued a statement saying the matter was "always an issue for the House to decide. The House Republican Caucus has now spoken clearly and distinctly."
While nonbinding, the vote was a major blow to Casada's efforts to cling to power as he battles multiple controversies that began with revelations of misogynistic texts with his former chief of staff Cade Cothren.
They now extend into a number of areas, including a demand from Rep. Mike Carter, R-Ooltewah, that he resign with Carter saying he thinks Casada sought to shape an Ethics Committee advisory draft opinion that Carter charged largely exonerated the speaker.
Caucus members met in a large basement room in a downtown Nashville hotel for 2 1/2 hours during their closed-door meeting. Reporters and others were in a corridor outside the room before being directed by hotel staff to depart.
Casada has faced open calls to resign from a dozen Republicans, including Carter and Rep. Patsy Hazlewood, R-Signal Mountain.
Republican Gov. Bill Lee has said if Casada worked in his administration or his business he would ask him to resign.
Early Monday, Lee told reporters that depending on House Republicans' actions, the possibility of his calling a special session for lawmakers to consider further action was "something to consider." But Lee also called it "premature."
"We'll have to wait and see what they do first," the governor said, referring to the later caucus meeting.
Lee said, "I think the Legislature will determine, they will signal whether or not they want a special session and we'll consider that sort of thing," he told reporters as he prepared to do volunteer work at a Nashville food bank.
Contact Andy Sher at firstname.lastname@example.org or 615-255-0550. Follow on Twitter @AndySher1.
Reaction to Tennessee House Republicans' approval of a no-confidence resolution calling on Speaker Glen Casada to resign:
"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." - House Speaker Glen Casada, R-Franklin "Today House Republicans sent a clear message, and I'm prepared to call a special session if the speaker doesn't resign." - Gov. Bill Lee "As members of Republican leadership, we are calling on Speaker Casada to resign, and we appreciate Governor Lee's willingness to call a special session so we can elect a new Speaker of the House." - House Republican Caucus Chairman Cameron Sexton and six other GOP leaders "This was always an issue for the House to decide on its own. The House Republican Caucus has now spoken clearly and distinctly. I am hopeful Speaker Casada will put the legislature, the party and the state first and heed the call of his colleagues." - Lt. Gov. Randy McNally, the Republican Senate speaker and among the first to call for Casada to resign "Democrats call on Governor Lee to follow through on his statement saying he will call a special session in the event Casada does not resign so that House members can expel Casada and bring this unfortunate saga of scandals and revelations to an end. The citizens deserve to have a government that reflects their values, not an embarrassing spectacle." - House Democratic Caucus "It's a sad day. It's a sad day for our party, it's a sad day for the House and it's a sad day for Tennessee. But I think it's just a step that has to be taken." - Rep. Patsy Hazlewood, R-Signal Mountain "Today the House Republican Caucus put the interests of Tennessee above politics and self-interest and I couldn't be more proud." - Rep. Mike Carter, R-Ooltewah "A Resolution expressing 'no confidence' in Speaker Casada as TN House Speaker has passed. I stand w my colleagues In the condemnation of behavior displayed 3 yrs ago & am committed to move forward in passing Ethics Reforms along w conservative leg for Tennesseans." - Rep. Robin Smith, R-Hixson, in a tweet