NASHVILLE — State Rep. Robin Smith says she's getting "encouraged" by some fellow Republicans as well as business people to run to replace current Tennessee House Speaker Glen Casada, who says he will resign his post in June after the GOP Caucus approved a no confidence resolution this week.
"While I'm flattered, I have not announced that I'm running," said Smith, a former Tennessee Republican Party chair, political and business consultant and freshman representative in an interview. "I'm watching. I'm not saying I would never run, but at this time, I'm watching."
She noted that "No. 1, there's not been a resignation, there's not anything that's been announced. And we all know a day in politics is as a thousands years. It's almost biblical."
"I'm getting a lot of calls of people," Smith said. "I've had six members to talk with me about seriously considering running. I've had several business folks call me and ask about seriously running because of the understanding that I have about business, project management and things like that in the business world."
Moreover, Smith said, "overwhelmingly, people I have heard from have been folks I have worked with over the span of time on grassroots elections."
On Wednesday, Rep. Mike Carter, R-Ooltewah, a Casada critic, announced he was running as did Deputy Speaker Matthew Hill, R-Jonesborough, a Casada ally who was appointed to his post by the now-departing speaker.
The GOP Caucus earlier this week said they no longer had confidence in Casada in a 45-24 vote called amid a sex text messaging scandal and other controversies that had engulfed Casada, who became speaker in January.
Carter has called for a special session to oust Casada both as speaker as well as a House representative.
Smith had argued during the closed-door meeting that caucus members should instead censure Casada, saying the provision was a remedy under GOP rules while the no-confidence vote is not mentioned.
A few days before the vote, Smith said she was working on two bills aimed at changing the Tennessee Capitol's culture, one of them being a one-alcoholic drink limit at the receptions sponsored by various special interests.
The representative said "respectfully" based on "what I'm hearing from the business folks that I'm speaking with, they don't understand how people have been in office and yet they have not changed the culture."
"We all promised to come to Nashville and not let Nashville change us," Smith said. "But it has."
Contact Andy Sher at email@example.com or 615-255-0550. Follow on Twitter @AndySher1.