Washington (CNN) - The National Republican Senatorial Committee says it isn't taking sides in any battle down the road for the party's Senate nomination in Missouri.
The primary winner there will take on freshman Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill, who's up for re-election 2012.
A Republican party source confirms to CNN reports that Sen. John Cornyn, the NRSC chairman, spoke before Thanksgiving with former Missouri Treasurer Sarah Steelman about a possible bid for the Senate nomination. The source tells CNN that Steelman called Cornyn, rather than the other way around, and that Cornyn suggested to Steelman that if she thought she could mount a good campaign, then she should run.
Also considering a run for the GOP nomination is former Sen. Jim Talent, who lost to McCaskill by three percentage points in 2006.
"From the NRSC's perspective there are several potential candidates, including Jim Talent and Sarah Steelman, who could mount a winning campaign against Claire McCaskill," says NRSC Communications Director Brian Walsh, who adds that McCaskill's "support for the Obama agenda, including the health care bill and stimulus, has left her vulnerable heading into 2012 and we wouldn't be surprised if several well-qualified candidates ultimately step forward to challenge her. But our nominee will be chosen by Republican voters in Missouri."
President Barack Obama narrowly lost the state to Sen. John McCain in the 2008 presidential election, but Republican Rep. Roy Blunt defeated Democratic nominee Robin Carnahan, Missouri's secretary of state, by 13 points earlier this month in the battle for the state's open Senate seat.
Steelman, a favorite with many Tea Party activists, considered a run against Blunt for this year's Senate nomination, but dropped out of the hunt early in this past cycle.
–Follow Paul Steinhauser on Twitter: @psteinhausercnn