Six local representatives had one thing in common yesterday – they all said they lost confidence in House Speaker Glen Casada’s leadership.
State House Republicans delivered a resolution during a caucus meeting on Monday stating that the House has “no confidence” in Casada’s leadership. The 45-24 vote proved to be a blow to the speaker, who announced Tuesday afternoon that he planned to resign.
Reps. Timothy Hill, R-Blountville, Matthew Hill, R-Jonesborough, Micah Van Huss, R-Jonesborough, John Holsclaw, R-Elizabethton, David Hawk, R-Greeneville, and Jeremy Faison, R-Cosby told News Channel 11 that they voted “no confidence” in a secret ballot.
Rep. Bud Hulsey, R-Kingsport, hadn’t returned a request for comment by 5 p.m. on Tuesday.
“I think that it’s time for the House to move forward with new leadership and we’ve got to do that,” Rep. Matthew Hill said Tuesday. “The people of Tennessee expect us to do that and the caucus overwhelmingly said that as well.”
When asked if he would run for the House Speaker position, Hill said he would issue a statement on the matter Wednesday.
Hill, who is also Deputy Speaker of the House, and Van Huss said they made their decisions after learning during the meeting that Casada hadn’t been honest about lewd and racist texts exchanged with his former chief of staff, Cade Cothren.
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 (@GovBillLee) May 21, 2019
Casada said he was “disappointed” after the caucus meeting and issued a statement saying he would “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.”
By Tuesday afternoon, he issued a statement announcing his intent to resign as House Speaker in two weeks.
“When I return to town on June 3, I will meet with Caucus leadership to determine the best date for me to resign as Speaker so that I can help facilitate a smooth transition,” he said in the statement.
Local legislators threw some names around of representatives that could fill the position- Faison and Hawk suggested letting Pro-Tem Speaker Bill Dunn take the position for the remainder of the session, and Holsclaw named Hawk in addition to Reps. Curtis Johnson, Cameron Sexton and Mike Carte as candidates.
Hawk ran against Casada for the Speaker seat this session and was one of the first representatives to call for Casada’s resignation.
He told us that he doesn’t plan to run for Speaker again.
“I ran for the Speaker position last November because I knew a Casada speakership would be a nightmare, and that’s exactly what it has been,” Hawk said, adding that he believes Casada should resign immediately.
“Speaker Casada has relayed through the media that he feels that he needs to take a vacation and he’ll come back on June the 3rd and tell us what his resignation plans are. That’s not good enough for the people of Tennessee.”
Moving forward, House Republicans will need to have a special-called caucus election. Candidates seeking election would campaign over the summer, and the House would meet at the end of July or early August for an election.
A special session would be called after that to name the next Speaker, which would need to be called by the Governor.
The House could also wait until January for the House Speaker to be sworn in.