The 2012 election just ended but already the 2014 races have begun. Republican Representative Shelley Moore Capito announced this morning that she will be running for the Senate in West Virginia. This will create an opening in the West Virginia’s 2nd congressional district.

The Senate seat is currently held Democrat Jay Rockefeller who is serving his fifth term. Rockefeller has not definitively stated if he will run again, but indicates are that he will seek a sixth term. Since Rockefeller was first elected West Virginia has steadily become more Republican leaning, but Rockefeller is his own brand in the state. His political career in the state spans almost half a century.

Capito is a top tier recruit for the Republican party. Having her announce so early should help clear the field and make it more difficult for other possible candidates to raise money.

The bane of the Republican party in the past two cycles is having their top tier Senate candidates beat in a primary, only to than have the ultra-conservative nominee lose in the general. Such primary challenges may have cost the Republican party almost half a dozen Senate seat in the past two elections. It will be interesting to see what role the national party plays in this upcoming cycle to prevent similar incidences from happening again.