NASHVILLE, Ten. — House Speaker Glen Casada has announced he will be stepping down from his position in the Tennessee legislature.
“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,” Casada said in a released statement to media outlets on Tuesday.
The news comes less than 24 hours after his fellow lawmakers entered a vote of “no confidence” in his ability to lead over a series of scandals. Even after the 45-24 secret ballot vote on Monday, the embattled Republican still said he wouldn’t resign from his position.
“I’m disappointed in the results… .,” Casada said in a statement after the caucus vote, unprecedented in the modern era of Tennessee politics. “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.”
That stance appears to have chance after Tennessee Governor Bill Lee warned several hours later on Twitter that he would take action and call a special session if the lawmakers refused to step aside.
On Tuesday, Gov. Lee released a statement on Twitter saying Casada “made the right decision.
“I look forward to working with the legislature to get back to conducting the people’s business and focusing on the issues that matter most to our state,” he added.
Casada has been dogged by calls to resign since it was revealed he exchanged text messages containing sexually explicit language about women with his former Chief of Staff Cade Cothren several years ago.
The scandal also includes reports of possible evidence tampering with a young black activist’s criminal case, Cothren admitting to using cocaine in his legislative office years before becoming Casada’s top aide and accusations of Casada spying on legislative members, among other matters.
Cothren ultimately resigned soon after the release of years-old racist texts and the sexually explicit messages.
Casada took office in January. He received 47 secret ballot votes out of 73 Republicans in the 99-member chamber to become speaker-elect in November. Then the majority leader, he defeated Reps. Curtis Johnson of Clarksville and David Hawk of Greeneville.