Cade Cothren, Tennessee House Speaker Glen Casada’s chief of staff, has resigned after reports of explicit text messages to lobbyists and interns and of illegal drug use in the office building recently surfaced, USA Today sister newspaper the Tennessean reports.
Cothren confirmed the rumors of resignation on Monday night.
"I think it was just a distraction," he said to the newspaper in an interview.
The resignation came merely hours after the Tennessean released news alleging that he tried to solicit oral sex and nude pictures from an intern in 2015. In 2016, Cothren “made sexual advances to a lobbyist.”
"Republicans in the House and Senate accomplished a plethora of great things this year," he said. "We have a hell of a leadership team in both chambers and in the governor's office, and I couldn't be more proud to have worked with them in 2019."
Casada’s now-former chief of staff stated that the “best thing for [him] to do is step down” so that lawmakers could remain focused.
Following news of Cothren’s resignation, Casada, in addition to House Majority Leader William Lamberth and House GOP caucus chairman Cameron Sexton, issued a statement.]
Casada expressed gratitude towards Cothren, and Lamberth said he was “shocked and disappointed” to hear the news of the allegations.
"These allegations are grave and serious; I do not condone these actions and they will not be tolerated," said Lamberth.
Sexton was glad that Cothren made the right choice during this “unfortunate” and “unforeseen” situation.
"This has been an extremely difficult time for all involved," he said. "I appreciate Cade putting Tennessee's interests first."