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Whispers are getting louder.

Assembly Republicans are not talking publicly, but they're meeting in little groups and buzzing among themselves about the possible overthrow of their caucus leader, Connie Conway.

A key question is whether any Republican can corral enough votes for a coup. No Assembly member has pushed publicly to succeed Conway, though veteran Don Wagner of Irvine and freshman Travis Allen of Huntington Beach are touted privately as possibilities. They did not respond to interview requests Monday.

Republicans are still reeling over the loss of three GOP seats in last November's election, a stunning party defeat that handed Democrats a supermajority in the 80-member house.

Conway , a Tulare County Republican, has served for two years as leader of the Assembly GOP. But political caucuses, like professional baseball or football teams, often react to humiliating defeats by switching managers because their lineup is set.

Conway replaced Martin Garrick as leader in 2010 after Republicans lost a key Sacramento-area Assembly seat in an election that swept GOP candidates across the country to victory.

For her part, Conway told The Bee on Monday that she has no intention of stepping down. She silenced critics in November by getting re-elected to the top post two days after the election. But the Assembly's 10-person crop of freshmen has had time to get to know each other since then -- and reconsider.

The caucus meets Tuesday.


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