One man leading the effort is a Mississippi Republican Party committeeman, Henry Barbour, who is a nephew of Gov. Haley Barbour of Mississippi — a former chairman of the Republican National Committee, himself. Governor Barbour is said by people involved in the discussions to be among those eager to see a change at the top of the party and recently criticized party fund-raising under Mr. Steele.

Officials close to the presumed new House speaker, Representative John A. Boehner of Ohio, and the Senate minority leader, Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, said that both men would prefer a new chairman as well, but that they were also resigned to Mr. Steele’s continued leadership should no clear alternative emerge to defeat him…

As Henry Barbour put it, “There’s just too much at risk in the next cycle not to make a change.”