Cade Cothren, Steve Gill, and the Tennessee Star take aim at McNally

Indicted former House chief of staff Cade Cothren, controversial political commentator Steve Gill, and the conservative Tennessee Star website are suggesting Senate Speaker Randy McNally (R-Oak Ridge) should resign over Instagram comments directed at risqué photos posted by a 20-year-old Knoxville man.

McNally was lampooned in a Saturday Night Live skit this weekend:

McNally had called on then-House Speaker Glen Casada (R-Franklin) “to resign for less,” Gill said in a Facebook post. When a commenter said McNally should resign or be removed, Gill responded: “Correct.”

Cothren, who was indicted along with Casada on public corruption charges related obscuring their control of a political vendor called Phoenix Solutions, was forced out of his legislative job in 2019 following revelations of racist and sexist texts with his boss and for boasting about using cocaine in his legislative office. Casada later lost a no-confidence vote and stepped down as speaker.

Cothren this weekend posted a copy of McNally’s tweets surrounding the 2019 scandal.

“It is painfully obvious to anyone who has watched the confused public responses of 79-year-old Tennessee Lt. Governor Randy McNally (R-Oak Ridge) to the controversy surrounding his inexplicable social media postings that he has lost a step mentally,” writes the Tennessee Star’s Michael Patrick Leahy in a post calling on the speaker’s resignation.

Gill was once a political writer for the Star before stepping away from the site after spending time in jail for failure to pay child support. He has appeared on Russian state television since the country’s invasion of Ukraine.

The calls for McNally to step aside are only coming from the political fringe — at least so far. It remains to be seen whether any members of the Senate Republican caucus begin to make a play to replace McNally in the Senate’s top leadership position.


Posts and Opinions about Tennessee politics, government, and legislative news.