Now, top Republicans are considering splitting the difference between the heavy hand they wielded in 2010 that prompted sharp blowback from the right and their mostly hands-off approach of 2012. Both strategies produced a handful of unelectable candidates, so senators are gravitating toward a middle ground: engage in primaries so long as they can get some cover on the local level.

“We ought to make certain that if we get engaged in primaries that we’re doing it based on the desires, the electability and the input of people back in the states that we’re talking about,” Kansas Sen. Jerry Moran, the incoming National Republican Senatorial Committee chairman, told POLITICO. “And not from the perception of what political operatives from Washington, D.C., think about who ought to be the candidate in state X.”…

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), who in his 2010 primary defeated the candidate McConnell backed, was skeptical of a more aggressive NRSC.

“You’re talking to a guy who wasn’t the handpicked guy, so I’m unlikely to think we should handpick anyway,” Paul said. “I’m a believer that the voters get to make these decisions.”