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 RockefellerObama to preserve torture report in presidential papers Lobbying world Overnight Tech: Senators place holds on FCC commissioner 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.