Tennessee House GOP to meet July 24 to nominate replacement for Speaker Casada

Tennessee House GOP to meet July 24 to nominate replacement for Speaker Casada

June 26th, 2019 by Andy Sher in Politics State

State Rep. and Speaker of the Tennessee House Glen Casada speaks during the Hamilton County Republican Party's annual Lincoln Day Dinner at the Westin Hotel on Friday, April 26, 2019, in Chattanooga, Tenn.

Photo by C.B. Schmelter /Times Free Press.

NASHVILLE — Tennessee House Republican lawmakers will meet July 24 to pick a speaker nominee to succeed Rep. Glen Casada, who is resigning the chamber's No. 1 post after a GOP Caucus vote of no confidence last month.

It comes with Republican Gov. Bill Lee expected to announce as early as this week a date in mid-to-late August to call the General Assembly into special session so the House can elect Casada's replacement on the chamber floor.

Majority Leader William Lamberth, R-Portland, announced the date late Wednesday afternoon in a statement saying that "following conversations with our members over the last several days, I am calling a caucus meeting for July 24th to select a Republican nominee for speaker of the House."

Lamberth said it's "my understanding the governor will announce a date for a special session later this week, and I appreciate his willingness to do so. My colleagues and I are eager to move Tennessee forward."

Casada controversies

Republican candidates for speaker are Reps. Mike Carter of Ooltewah and Curtis Johnson of Clarksville, GOP Caucus Chairman Cameron Sexton of Crossville, Deputy Speaker Matthew Hill of Jonesborough and Rep. Jay Reedy of Erin. 

Others eyeing bids include Rep. Robin Smith of Hixson, former GOP Caucus Chairman Ryan Williams of Cookeville and Jerry Sexton of Bean Station.

Casada, who only became speaker in January, was rocked by revelations of sexually explicit text messages in exchanges with a then-top aide, Cade Cothren, three years ago.

Other controversies soon piled up for the speaker, among them charges by a black activist and his attorney that then-Chief of Staff Cothren sought to frame the activist with an email violating a no-contact order involving the speaker.

These and Casada's hard-driving leadership style helped lead to a GOP Caucus meeting where members voted 45-24 on May 20 to say they no longer had confidence in their speaker. 

Casada has said he plans to resign Aug. 2.

Because Republicans control 73 of the chamber's 99 votes, it virtually ensures that whoever becomes the GOP Caucus' nominee will be elected speaker on the House floor.

Contact Andy Sher at asher@timesfreepress.com or 615-255-0550. Follow on Twitter @AndySher1.