NASHVILLE, Tenn. (localmemphis.com) – UPDATE 5/20/2019 – 5:25 p.m.: House GOP Caucus votes that they have no confidence in TN House Speaker Glen Casada, 45-24.
Tennessee Republican Party Chairman Scott Golden released the following statement on the House Republican Caucus meeting regarding Speaker Glen Casada:
“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.”
Statement from Speaker Canada:
“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.”
It could be a make or break day for embattled Republican House Speaker Glen Casada, who’s been ensnarled in a texting scandal.
At a downtown Nashville boutique hotel, the House Republican Caucus meets at 2:30 p.m. Monday in a gathering that could determine the political future of their speaker
Earlier, nearly two dozen protesters outside the capitol called the for speaker to resign. One of those watching what the House Republican Caucus does about its embattled speaker is Republican Governor Bill Lee.
“My hope is that they exercise their ability to choose a leader and they will do so,” said the governor Monday morning at a Nashville food bank. “Casting a vote of confidence or no confidence, that’s an important part of the process. The speaker himself has said it’s important.”
The governor maintained its “premature” to call a special session if the speaker does not resign, but said he wants to see what happens in the caucus meeting “before any conversations beyond that.”
The speaker maintains the “majority (of the Republican Caucus) the overwhelming majority is still with me.”
Rep. Casada has been under scrutiny since his former chief of staff Cade Cothren allegedly sent racist and sexist text messages three years ago. The speaker admits responding to a few of the sexist texts.
He has also been criticized for trying to influence a House Ethics Committee report on his handling of Cothren’s resignation earlier this month, but denies any meddling.
“What I hope comes out of this all of our caucus members are able to come together,” says House Republican Majority Leader William Lamberth. “They did a good job this session. I think they can weather this storm and make good decisions as well.”
Unless Rep. Casada resigns, most constitutional observers believe there is no provision to remove the speaker until his two-year term is up in 2021.