NRSC requiring candidates get mentors, go through campaign boot camp

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On CSPAN's "Newsmakers" on Sunday, Moran acknowledged that the campaign committee faced a bind going into the 2014 cycle, in that heavy establishment involvement in primaries could inspire backlash from the grassroots — but a poor candidate making it through the primary could cost the party a seat, as former Rep. Todd Akin (R-Mo.) did in Missouri in 2012.

Moran said to avoid an appearance of heavy involvement in the nominating process, the NRSC will encourage local state leaders to support its favored candidates.

“We’re going to be emphatic in our efforts to encourage individual leaders within the state to coalesce around a great candidate,” he said.

“We’re going to be involved, but it would make no sense for us to publicly say this is the person we want you to nominate because there has to be support for that candidate from somebody in the state,” Moran added.

Following a disappointing showing in the 2012 cycle, Moran acknowledged that some donors had expressed skepticism about the use of their money, insisting, "If you want a check from me to support the cause of a Republican Senate, give me candidates that can be elected to the Senate in November."
 
And to ensure that their preferred candidates maintain a level of competency heading through the entire campaign, Moran said that any candidate looking for NRSC money must agree to be mentored by a current GOP senator. The committee is also setting up boot camps for candidates and their staffs.

He's already satisfied, however, with current candidates in West Virginia and South Dakota, two seats the GOP considers likely pickups. Both Rep. Shelley Moore Capito in West Virginia and former Gov. Mike Rounds in South Dakota are facing potential primary challengers, but Moran said he wasn't concerned that they wouldn't nab their nominations.

“She seems to be clearly on her way to being nominated as the Republican candidate in West Virginia,” he said of Capito, and described Rounds as an “outstanding candidate.”

In Massachusetts, where Republican Gabriel Gomez is facing Rep. Edward Markey (D) for the seat vacated by Secretary of State John Kerry (D), Moran expressed optimism at the GOP's chances in the blue state, noting that the NRSC's own polling shows the race down to single digits.

"The polling information that we've seen, including polling of our own, something else we've paid for, is just single-digit difference, someplace between three and six points' difference between the two candidates at this stage in the campaign," he said.

He added that the NRSC may have invested more in the race than previously disclosed. The committee recently sent staff to Massachusetts to support their candidate.

"I guess I wouldn't mind you knowing our efforts in Massachusetts, but if I told you, you would tell others, or others would hear this conversation, and we're not interested in letting the other side know the nature of our involvement in that campaign," Moran said.