The Senate GOP this week chose Sen. Jerry Moran (R., Kan.) to coordinate their 2014 campaigns, with an assist from Texas Sen.-elect Ted Cruz, who has close ties to the tea party.

The two conservative lawmakers, with help on fundraising from Sen. Rob Portman (R., Ohio), are tasked with reaching out to tea party and other activists. They hope to avoid the nomination of candidates such as Missouri Rep. Todd Akin, who GOP leaders believe cost them a Senate seat with controversial comments about rape.

“You have to fix the problem and get better candidates,” said a Senate GOP aide. “We need a clear discussion at the beginning on who are conservatives that can win and who are bad candidates.…You have to collaborate with conservatives on the front end.”…

“It’s music to my ears if they really believe that,” said Matt Canter, spokesman for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. “From what I know about the tea party, or the extreme of the Republican base, what makes them go crazy is the notion of the Washington establishment telling them who their nominee should be.”