Former House Speaker Glen Casada will seek re-election to his House District 63 seat later this year after publicly weighing retirement.
Casada, a Franklin Republican, assumed the top spot in the House at the start of 2019, but lost the job just a few months later amid a spiraling scandal involving text messages sent to and from his chief of staff, Cade Cothren.
Casada gave a prepared statement about running, but declined to comment further on his announcement. He recently told Home Page sister publication Scene that he was focused on a bill that would tighten DUI enforcement in the state.
“That skill set that helped me rise up in leadership will be focused on being committed to helping Tennessee fully, and that’s where my attention will be, helping the conservatives and Republicans and helping my county,” he said then. “I am a firm believer that wherever God put you, you’ve got to be content, and he’s put me now in this spot of being a rank-and-file member, and I’m proud to be there.”
Republicans — slowly and then all at once — turned on Casada as public attention to House leadership escalated. After House Republicans passed a no-confidence resolution in regard to Casada, Gov. Bill Lee called on him to step aside, which he later did.
Some Republicans also bristled at Casada’s leadership style, including the pressure campaign he spearheaded in order to pass Lee’s signature voucher program.
In an August special session, the House tapped Crossville Republican Cameron Sexton as the new speaker.
As Casada decides to seek re-election, he won’t be unopposed. Williamson County School Board member Brad Fiscus launched a campaign as an independent in July, specifically citing the voucher bill as a reason for challenging Casada.
Since being elected to the House in 2002, Casada has held multiple leadership positions. He sought the speaker job in 2010, but lost out to Beth Harwell of Nashville. Casada later returned to leadership as GOP caucus chair and later as majority leader before being elected speaker in 2019.
Casada briefly considered a return to leadership earlier this year, surprising some but saying he might run for the open caucus whip position before ultimately deciding against it.
House GOP Caucus Chair Jeremy Faison, who frequently clashed with Casada and is now responsible for Republicans’ re-election efforts, says the caucus would not get involved in a potential primary challenge, but would support Casada if he is the Republican nominee.
“I personally would be glad to come to Williamson County and help if Glen needed,” Faison, who was among the first Republicans to call on Casada to resign, says. “However, Glen is a campaign machine and a true force to be reckoned with in a political race. I doubt he will need any help. He raises money and works hard.”
Casada had nearly $400,000 on hand in his campaign account at the end of December, despite raising less than $4,000 in the latest fundraising period.
Democrats do not yet have a candidate for the seat where Casada has routinely bested Democratic challengers by more than 30 points, but Williamson County Democratic Party Chair Kreis White says they will field a candidate.
“Williamson Countians are decent people,” he says. “They deserve public servants who seek decent objectives using decent means. Glen Casada fails in both respects. Williamson County Democrats look forward to a vigorous campaign for this seat.”
This story first appeared in our sister publication the Nashville Post.