The National Republican Senatorial Committee took its first shot at a Senate Democrat up for election in 2012 on Tuesday, hitting Sen.-elect Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinPavlich: The claim Trump let the mentally ill get guns is a lie Toomey to introduce bill broadening background checks for firearms Scott Walker backs West Virginia attorney general in GOP Senate primary MORE (D-W.Va.) amid rumors that the GOP is working to convince him to switch parties.  

Manchin, who defeated Republican John Raese last week after a closer-than-expected campaign that saw the conservative Democrat running away from President Obama, is tamping down speculation that he could leave the Democratic Party after FoxNews reported Monday that the GOP is making overtures.   

Manchin will have to run for a full six-year term in 2012, when he may very well be a top GOP target once again.     

In a release Tuesday, the NRSC accused Manchin of "doubling down on his commitment to anti-coal U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidWATCH: There is no Trump-Russia collusion and the media should stop pushing this The demise of debate in Congress ‘North by Northwest,’ the Carter Page remake MORE (D-NV), who spearheaded the failed $787 billion stimulus debacle and strongly supports a job-killing cap-and-trade energy tax."

Cap-and-trade emerged as a major issue during Manchin's campaign against Raese. The Republican said Manchin would cave to cap-and-trade demands from Reid and the Democratic leadership once in the Senate. But Manchin made his opposition to the bill clear, running a campaign ad in which he literally shot a hole through a copy of the bill. 

The worst-case scenario for Manchin two years from now would likely be a challenge from Rep. Shelley Moore CapitoShelley Wellons Moore CapitoAt least Alzheimer’s research is bringing Washington together Overnight Tech: Intel chief says 'no doubt' Russia will meddle in midterms | Dems press FCC over net neutrality comments | Bill aims to bridge rural-urban digital divide | FCC to review rules on children's TV Senators offer bill to close rural-urban internet divide MORE (R-W.Va.), but the congresswoman has yet to show any interest in running in 2012.