Powerful Tennessee House Speaker Glen Casada (R) has been officially felled by the weeks of scandal plaguing his administration, and plans to resign when he comes back from vacation.
“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 a statement obtained by TPM.
His office did not immediately elaborate on his future plans as a regular House member.
His decision comes just a day after he failed a “no confidence” vote in the Republican caucus and Gov. Bill Lee (R) threatened to call a special session to elect a new speaker if Casada didn’t bow out.
Lee tweeted in approval of Casada’s decision.
Speaker Casada has made the right decision, and 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.
— Gov. Bill Lee (@GovBillLee) May 21, 2019
Mike Stewart, the Democratic House caucus chairman, saw Casada’s resignation as an inevitable conclusion.
“I think once Casada got the vote of ‘no confidence’ by such a wide margin from Republicans, it was inevitable that he would resign,” Stewart told TPM. “I think that Republicans knew that absent his resignation, you would just have further scandal upon further scandal, that this was just the tip of the iceberg. They could not continue effectively with that leadership.”
He said that unless the Speaker decides to resign his seat altogether, Casada will finish his term as a normal House member until his reelection in 2020. He added that Rep. Bill Dunn, the Speaker Pro Tempore, is next in the line of succession.
“Once the scandals continued unabated with a new one every day, I was not surprised that the Republicans decided it was just not tenable,” he concluded. “I’m not surprised that ultimately, wiser heads prevailed within the Republican network.”
It’s a stunning conclusion to two weeks of scandal so untenable that it brought down both Casada and his top aide in ruby red Tennessee where Republicans enjoy supermajorities in both chambers. The hits stacked up in the form of sexist and racist texts, alleged attempts to get an activist tossed in jail and drug use on government property. Read all about it here.