“The fix is in,” said one Republican lawmaker who spoke to Stefanik on Tuesday.
Stefanik has been working the phones throughout the day on Tuesday and has enlisted Republican Rep. Guy Reschenthaler of Pennsylvania to make calls on her behalf, multiple sources said. A vote on Cheney’s future and replacement is expected as soon as May 12.
“The field is clear for her at the moment,” said another House GOP source who asked to talk anonymously to discuss sensitive internal politics.
Several sources tell CNN that while outreach and discussions are still in the early phases, there is a recognition that Stefanik would be a natural fit for the post as someone who is both close to House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy and has done considerable fundraising on behalf of fellow members in the party, especially female candidates.
There are several signs that Stefanik is consolidating support. One is that Indiana Rep. Jim Banks, who was viewed as a potential candidate for the job, told several outlets including that he would not mount a bid for the spot, opting to stay the head of the conservative Republican Study Committee instead.
“I’m focused on RSC chair,” Banks said. “Might run for something else next term but not willing to give that up yet.”
Rep. Ashley Hinson of Iowa, one of the Republican women who was floated by her colleagues as a potential replacement for Cheney, is also not interested in the job, a source close to her told CNN. “She is purely focused on serving IA-01 and locking down her own seat. She has no interest in pursuing a leadership position at this time,” the source tells CNN.
Indiana Rep. Jackie Walorski, who is also viewed as a possible contender for the job, has yet to indicate what she will do, and her office didn’t respond to an inquiry from CNN.
Rep. Mike Johnson, a Louisiana conservative, also has been rumored to be a potential candidate. But so far there’s been no sign that he is actively campaigning for the role, and a spokesman didn’t respond to requests for comment on his interest in the post.
“He’s been very quiet,” a Republican lawmaker said.
But Republicans recognize the optics of replacing Cheney with a man, and top members of the conference would prefer that a woman emerge in the No. 3 position — particularly one like Stefanik, who is unlikely to cause internal backlash.
Stefanik, sources said, is the clear favorite.
“She reached out to me and other members today and is working to whip votes,” the lawmaker said of Stefanik on Tuesday. “She is very careful not to say anything negative about Liz, but I mean Jim Banks getting out says a lot.”
The Republican member also said that some members of leadership “are calling and lending their support to Elise,” hammering home the point that Stefanik is emerging as the chosen one to replace Cheney.
Aides and members have told CNN that they believe it is important to continue having a woman serve in the position given that it’s such a public-facing role.
“I reject wholeheartedly identity politics. That said, clearly a leadership team is strongest when it has diversity,” a lawmaker said. “In my office, I would be embarrassed to have my top four or five leaders all be of one gender or the other.”
But perhaps the clearest sign that Cheney is ousted from her post is that even her allies have not rallied behind her to push back against her increasingly vocal opponents.
A Republican lawmaker who plans to support Cheney when her position comes to a conference vote admitted to CNN, “She does not survive.”
“I haven’t talked to anyone in the last three days who will stick their neck out for her,” the lawmaker said. “Even those who like Liz and agree with her think the current situation is untenable.”