With an eye on becoming House speaker, Casada budgets $200K to help elect favored Republican reps

House Majority Leader Glen Casada has budgeted more than $200,000 in spending by his political action committee as part of an “aggressive strategy” to elect Republican representatives this year and —  perhaps not so coincidentally – help him get elected as the House speaker by those winning the races, reports Andy Sher.

Casada is one of at least four current Republican legislators eyeing a run to succeed current House Speaker Beth Harwell, who is not seeking reelection to the House this year and instead running for governor. The other three are Rep. Gerald McCormick, a former majority leader; House Speaker Pro Tempore Curtis Johnson and Rep. David Hawk, currently assistant majority leader.

Casada plans to take sides in a number of contested open GOP primaries where no incumbent is running, as well as in defending sitting Republican representatives who face Aug. 2 primary challengers.

Casada confirmed in an interview that he will use his personal leadership political action committee, CAS-PAC, to hire 13 field staffers and offer candidates assistance in everything from getting organized and putting together data bases to knocking on voters’ doors and phone banking.

He also will be making contributions and assisting candidates who want the help when it comes to fundraising. Casada said he’s budgeting about $208,000 for the overall effort.

“This is nothing new to me,” said the Franklin Republican, a former House GOP Caucus chairman…Still, when asked if his flurry of activity could aid a bid to replace Harwell, the first female speaker in Tennessee history and a candidate for governor, Casada said “I do hope it helps, because I’m interested in running for speaker.

“But,” he quickly added, “first thing’s first. And the first thing is getting good people elected to the open seats and making sure all of the incumbents come back. So I am not putting the cart before the horse.”

…While candidates for speaker and other leadership offices have traditionally sought to encourage good will among current lawmakers and candidates with contributions, Casada is taking it to a whole new level, especially with using his leadership PAC to hire campaign staffers.

McCormick, who served six years as majority leader, noted that while leader, “I was a lot more active in the campaigns because the majority leader leads and also appoints the caucus campaign committees. That’s one of his or her official duties. So you’d expect him to be more involved in campaigns for incumbents.”

The Chattanoogan said he’s given money to the caucus campaign committee, more than was asked, “so we’re all together on that.”

And, McCormick said, he too is making contributions to legislative candidates, including some running in open districts where there is no incumbent but there is a contested GOP primary.

…One race where McCormick and Casada are already on opposing sides is on filling the House District 30 seat being left open by Rep. Marc Gravitt, R-East Ridge, who is retiring to run for the Republican nomination for Hamilton County Register of Deeds.

McCormick is backing Jonathan Mason of Chattanooga, whom he’s known for years, as Gravitt’s successor. Casada is supporting Esther Helton, an East Ridge city commissioner.

Speaker Pro Tempore Johnson said he “hadn’t had a chance, frankly, to keep up with what [Casada] is doing” as he meets with GOP colleagues around the state.

20 Responses to With an eye on becoming House speaker, Casada budgets $200K to help elect favored Republican reps

  • David Collins says:

    So, Casada is continuing that fine Republican tradition of buying his way into office. Typical.

    • Stuart I. Anderson says:

      So if Republicans buy their way into office, how do you think Democrats attain office, divine revelation?

      • Stuart I. Anderson says:

        I KNOW!!!!! Democrats attain office by pandering to every corporation, partnership, and sole proprietorship of the grievance industry!

        • Bob Fischer says:

          Is unfounded innuendo really the only thing you have to bring to the table? Democrats are running on issues. Affordable quality education, pension reform, living wages , affordable healthcare for all are but a few of these issues. The only thing republicans trying to buy their way into office are peddling is to be afraid of the boogeyman.

          • Michelle says:

            If Democrats want quality education, why are the load of them on the school board keeping an inept superintendent in office? He’s been diverting funds from our kids for years. Is that what Democrats have in mind when it comes to quality education?

          • Bob Fischer says:

            We just got rid of our superintendent in Knox County for precisely that. In addition, our county mayor released funds as a stopgap measure to continue project grad until a long term solution can be found. A major stumbling block in Tennessee is that school boards don’t have taxing authority and consequently have to serve the needs of the people holding the pursestrings rather than the students first. We have a real problem in Tennessee in that there is no common vision as to what we want our educational system to be. That goes back to obstructionist policies by politicians who would rather point fingers and pass blame to get re-elected that actually work on the issues that face the state. Welcome to the red states.

    • James White says:

      David Collins is correct.

  • Tommy Ray McAnally says:


  • Patty Pierce says:

    I, so, wish we could put an end to Citizen’s United and pull back on all these special interest PACs, Corporations and big money buying their way into the political arena. We need to get back to the basics and on a level playing field.

    • Stuart I. Anderson says:

      You leftist lovers of democracy, so long as the vote goes your way. Crucifixes in urine – that’s liberal free speech but people using their money to influence elections that isn’t free speech. I know, it isn’t easy to be a liberal. Obviously rational argumentation is not a requirement, indeed it’s a disqualification.

      • Bob Fischer says:

        Actually, the crucifix in urine issue was over what does and doesn’t constitute art. The project in question was over an NEA grant (this makes it an Article 1 of the Constitution and not a 1st Amendment or Bill of Rights issue. If Mr. Anderson would ever bother to actually read the Constitution, he would know that) and whether or not the work in question was legitimately “art”. I’m not an art major. The piece didn’t do much for me, but I’m not qualified to make that judgement.

        As to money and free speech. Money is a medium of exchange allowing wealth to be quantified. Free speech is the expression and sharing of ideas. At no level can these two be equated. In fact, once money becomes involved for the movement of an idea, that idea is no longer free speech but a paid political advertisement aka propaganda.

        Money is not free speech and corporations are not people. Any rational human knows that. Casada’s attempted purchase of the house is nothing more than election rigging.

  • I am reading this correctly? The dems are stealing from education?!!!! Oh that is fun. Tell it to Betsy Devoss and all your charter schools. And you want to talk about dems? When the republicans have rolled back education, environmental regs- healthcare —and you people want to blame the Dems??????Oh good grief………….wake up little Suzi…………..this isn’t about party anymore- it’s about humanity. And the dems like their democracy messy. Always have. While you republicans sit next to the Lord and tell us all how to live…………..get a life…………………

    • Stuart I. Anderson says:

      Charter schools ARE government schools so I don’t know what you’re complaining about. Of course we want to blame the Obama administration for government by executive orders which Obama had to rely on after the historic drubbing he and his Democratic friends suffered after two years of the Democrats controlling both the Congress as well as the White House. How much of that nightmare do you think the American people could stand? You have to expect that the next Republican administration would undo the regulations that were strangling our economy and taking away our freedoms once the Republicans were returned to office and sanity was restored.

      So Democrats have “humanity” on their side. I wouldn’t bet on it, but after we conservatives get through reforming the Republican Party it will be sitting “next to” the constitution, correctly interpreted, and once again freedom will reign in this country and we may just survive as the land of the free, the home of the brave, a little while longer.

  • Bob Fischer says:

    Charter schools are private schools funded by taxpayer money. They are not held to any standards nor are they required to operate under the same regulations public schools are. There is not quality control and any standards they operate under are purely arbitrary. They often operate outside of constitutional boundaries. Citizens should have the right to educate their children as they see fit, however, taxpayers should not be expected to fund every looney tunes private sector plan that rolls in from the pig-pen.

    As to your claims about the constitution, how would you know? You clearly haven’t read it.

    • Stuart I. Anderson says:

      Actually charter schools operate as autonomous public schools that is authorized to function under a charter received from a government agency. The “charter” is a performance contract that the school has with the government agency detailing the school’s mission, program, goals, student served, methods of assessment, and ways to measure success. Charters are typically granted for three to five years. Thus while the school may be private, it is allowed to function only insofar as it operates within the parameters and attains the goals as per its agreement with the government failure to achieve which results in its charter being terminated. Charter schools may not always be government schools, but considering the government control it’s hard to know exactly what the government control enthusiasts are complaining about.

      • Bob Fischer says:

        If charter schools worked, they would work in the free market. They are nothing more than welfare for rich people whose ideas don’t hold water. Not one charter school has proven to be a success when measured against a comparably funded public school. They’re nothing more than lazy rich people stealing resources and dumbing down an education system at the cost of our poorest school children. They are a scam and the people supporting these crocks should be locked out.

  • Bob Fischer says:

    In addition, charter schools siphon money out of an already underfunded public school system. They are not an education model, quite the opposite, they often allow non-certified personal to teach. The money they save providing substandard education is then pocketed, or moved out of the school, if non-profit, and into someone’s pocket under the guise of fees. These operators are the dregs of society. They make their money by preying on the weakest members of society stealing their education dollars.

  • Bob Fischer says:
  • Thomas Williams says:

    Is a political ad “speech”?
    Which did the framers of our constitution care to protect at root: artistic “speech” or political speech?

  • Bob Fischer says:

    I think it’s advertising.

    I’m pretty sure the first amendment exists for all speech, though, one can be held accountable for one’s speech and one is not free from the consequences. It’s an interesting question though and begs the question, “Once a political ad is played on purchased time once, does a wealthy candidate have a right to inundate a market with an ad that stretches the truth, or does that one time running it over the airways constitute the use of his right?”

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