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Capito announced her bid for West Virginia Senate last week, bringing praise from the GOP establishment; she's considered a top-tier candidate that will post a strong challenge against incumbent Sen. Jay RockefellerJay RockefellerOvernight Tech: Trump nominates Dem to FCC | Facebook pulls suspected baseball gunman's pages | Uber board member resigns after sexist comment Trump nominates former FCC Dem for another term Obama to preserve torture report in presidential papers MORE (D).

But she's also received criticism from a number of conservative groups for her record on spending, indicating she could face a primary challenge from the right.

Capito's run will open up her 2nd District seat; she said that she announced early because she wanted to give potential contenders a chance to "start looking at my seat."

The contest will include a bit of a family feud flavor as well, as Capito's father, former West Virginia Gov. Arch Moore, was Rockefeller's political rival. While Moore defeated Rockefeller in their first gubernatorial match-up, Rockefeller went on to win the governor's mansion in a rematch eight years later.

Rockefeller's formal rival gave Capito "the thumbs up" for a run, she said.

"Dad gave me the thumbs up, and said, 'It sounds good to me,' " Capito said.