The founders of the Rove super-PAC intend to engage in GOP primary races and back the most electable candidate. The group argues that a number of untested conservative candidates made it through 2012 primaries, only to lose in the general election.

The Conservative Victory Project's formation, though, has sparked strong criticism from a number of GOP grassroots and Tea Party organizations.

"They want power, and they will sacrifice principle for power," said Amy Kremer, the head of the Tea Party Express. "We will not sacrifice principle."

Walsh, a Tea Party favorite, lost his bid for reelection in 2012 to Rep. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.)