"This is going to be decided not by the NRSC and not by the Club for Growth; it's going to be decided by the people of West Virginia," he said.
In the last election cycle, Democratic leaders in Washington didn't mind playing favorites during the primaries, heavily recruiting candidates they thought had the best chance of winning, while shunning some they did not see as formidable. GOP leaders, in contrast, sat back as their potential nominees fought it out.
Moran said figuring out the NRSC's role in the coming primaries will take a couple of months, and said his organization will play a role in some states.
"It's a state-by-state issue," he said.
Democratic officials, meanwhile, are enjoying the sideshow of a potential GOP split already in the works.
"Their argument is correct that the handpicked Republican establishment candidates did just as poorly as the more tea-party candidates," said Matt Canter, spokesman for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. "It's hard to argue with them in that respect."
Canter said the establishment candidates stumbled in part because of their efforts to appeal to tea party supporters and strong anti-government organizations such as the Club for Growth. He said an outsider might find it easy to defeat Capito, because GOP primaries in West Virginia typically do not attract a lot of voters.
"It would be very easy for a right-wing candidate to get the votes needed to win," Canter said.
Republican strategist Ron Bonjean said he would have preferred for the Club for Growth to have waited to see if a viable alternative to Capito emerges before attacking her. With Mitt Romney easily winning the state, Republicans figure to have a strong shot of winning the Senate seat in 2014.
"She's the best that state has to offer at this point," Bonjean said. "There's not a deep bench of Republican candidates who can immediately step into the fold, who can take on Sen. Rockefeller. Going after a female Republican right now when we lost the women's vote is not necessarily the wisest political move either."
Chocola said supporting fiscal conservatives such as Jeff Flake in Arizona and Ted Cruz in Texas, both Senate winners this month, is the best way back for the GOP.
"They are the future of the Republican Party," he said.