Freshman Smith sees ‘opportunity’ to succeed Casada

Freshman Rep. Robin Smith (R-Hixson) attends a House floor session in Nashville on April 23, 2019. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

Freshman Rep. Robin Smith (R-Hixson) sees an “opportunity” to succeed House Speaker Glen Casada, the Chattanooga Times Free Press reports.

Casada (R-Franklin) announced plans to resign following a 45-24 vote by the House Republican Caucus to approve a resolution declaring lost confidence in the speaker over a text message scandal and his heavy-handed leadership style. Smith had argued against the resolution during the closed-door caucus meeting.

Smith cited her strong relationship with her 19 fellow freshman in the 73-member caucus.

“We’re the ones bringing ethics reform to the table when others have not,” Smith told the paper. “I think there’s an opportunity for us to stick together as a class. But I’m not going to make that presumption, I’m not going to speak on their behalf.”

“I’m not going to take anyone’s vote for granted regardless of their tenure,” she said.

Smith is a former state Republican Party chairwoman, who took a hard line in stripping former Speaker Kent Williams of Elizabethton of his ability to seek re-election as a Republican because he had been elected to lead the chamber by Democrats.

Smith worked as a campaign consultant for the House GOP during the 2018 campaign cycle, earning $37,000 for her efforts. She lost out her effort to land the same role in 2016 to Chip Saltsman, another former state GOP chairman, who is now supporting Rep. Cameron Sexton (R-Crossville) for speaker.

Saltsman also managed U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann’s successful GOP primary campaign against Smith in 2010.

Reps. Matthew Hill (R-Jonesborough) and Mike Carter (R-Ooltewah) are the only formally declared candidates so far, but several others are actively seeking support for bids.

7 Responses to Freshman Smith sees ‘opportunity’ to succeed Casada

  • James White says:

    “When I return to town on June 3rd, 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 (R-Franklin) said in a statement.

  • LeeAnn C. says:

    Oh my word! I really like Rep. Smith, but can we PLEASE get someone in leadership that has at least completed their first term?!?

    • Stuart I. Anderson says:

      I agree LeeAnn. Both Mathew Hill and Mike Carter have a long record as proven conservatives and would be preferable.

  • Cash Pack says:

    LOL, Smith left the TN Republican Party with over $100K in debt and handed out lavish Glen Casada-style bonuses to her political staff. At least she was using donor money instead of taxpayer dollars, I guess. She’s pretty bad with money for someone who fancies herself a “conservative” if you ask me. She also defended Casada until the bitter end. TN Republicans can do better than Robin “Casada-lite” Smith.

  • Molly says:

    Are you sure that Casada is leaving his speakership? He’s not gone yet

  • Phil Lassiter says:

    Rudderless. Thank God

  • jason wallflower says:

    Smith as speaker would be a disaster.

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