Tennessee House Speaker to resign amid scandal

Tennessee House Speaker to resign amid scandal
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Tennessee House Speaker Glen Casada (R) will resign in the coming weeks after state House Republicans cast a vote of no confidence in his leadership amid a sexually explicit texting scandal.

In a statement Tuesday morning, Casada said he would resign after he returns from a pre-planned 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,” Casada said.

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Casada has been under pressure since May 6, when The Tennessean newspaper disclosed text messages between the Speaker and his top aide that included derogatory comments toward women. The text messages included lewd comments about women with whome the aide, Cade Cothren, claimed to have been involved.

Other texts showed Cothren making advances towards interns and a lobbyist.

Casada initially stood by Cothren, though Cothren resigned hours after The Tennessean’s story was published. In the weeks since, top Republicans had begun to call for Casada’s ouster.

On Monday, the House Republican caucus held a no-confidence vote. Gov. Bill Lee (R) said he would call the legislature back into session if Casada did not resign his post. Both a U.S. Attorney and the Tennessee Bureau of Investigations have opened inquires into whether Casada attempted to influence an ethics investigation.

“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,” Lee wrote on Twitter Tuesday morning.

Casada will keep his seat in the state House, where he has served since winning election in 2000. Speaker Pro Tempore Bill Dunn (R) will take over the gavel when Casada’s resignation becomes official.