Among the “conservative reformers” and Tea Party types interviewed for this article, there is little illusion that unseating McConnell will be easy or even possible. The math simply isn’t there. At most, 10 Republican senators relied on significant Tea Party support to get into office. Rather, the hope is to rattle the cages a bit and make sure that the leadership of the Senate reflects the energy in the ranks.

A lack of contenders to replace McConnell also makes a putsch unlikely. Many of the most popular Tea Party Republicans, including Rand Paul and Ted Cruz, are thought to be laying the groundwork for a presidential run.

One name that came up in repeated discussions was Utah Sen. Mike Lee, though he was only elected in 2010.

Asked at the RLC about whether McConnell should remain the Republican leader, Lee did not give an unequivocal yes.