GOP group previews attacks in Indiana, W.Va. and Ohio Senate races

GOP group previews attacks in Indiana, W.Va. and Ohio Senate races
© Greg Nash
 Republican opposition research firm America Rising is storming ahead after Tuesday's primaries, launching a warning shot at vulnerable Democrats now have that their Republican opponents officially have the party's nominations. 
 
In a new memo to donors sent Wednesday morning and obtained by The Hill, top America Rising executives Joe Pounder and Alexandra Smith sent donors an early look at their strategy to attack Democratic Sens. Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinFormer coal exec Don Blankenship launches third-party presidential bid Centrist Democrats seize on state election wins to rail against Warren's agenda Overnight Energy: Senate eyes nixing 'forever chemicals' fix from defense bill | Former Obama EPA chief named CEO of green group | Senate reviews Interior, FERC nominees criticized on ethics MORE (W.Va.), Joe DonnellyJoseph (Joe) Simon DonnellyWatchdog accuses pro-Kavanaugh group of sending illegal robotexts in 2018 Lobbying world Trump nominees meet fiercest opposition from Warren, Sanders, Gillibrand MORE (Ind.) and Sherrod BrownSherrod Campbell BrownOn The Money: Trump asks Supreme Court to block Dem subpoena for financial records | Kudlow 'very optimistic' for new NAFTA deal | House passes Ex-Im Bank bill opposed by Trump, McConnell Warren, Brown press IRS on study reviewing Free File program Sunday shows — New impeachment phase dominates MORE (Ohio).
 
All three senators are on the GOP target list after President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump reversed course on flavored e-cigarette ban over fear of job losses: report Trump to award National Medal of Arts to actor Jon Voight Sondland notified Trump officials of investigation push ahead of Ukraine call: report MORE won their states in 2016.  The group plans to paint the lawmakers as too liberal for their state's red-leaning electorates.
 
"The combination of opposition research and rapid response is the most effective way to define a candidate and influence the trajectory of a race. America Rising PAC is prepared to deploy our research to exploit the vulnerabilities of Senators Manchin, Donnelly, and Brown to voters in their states who overwhelmingly supported the President," the two write in the memo, noting they have more than 1,600 pages of opposition research on the three senators and have tracked them across tens of thousands of miles. 
 
"America Rising PAC is focused on an aggressive earned media effort applying opposition research on a daily basis to define the narrative against these Democratic Senators."
 
In West Virginia, Republicans dodged what they considered a bullet — the primary campaign of ex-convict and former coal baron Don Blankenship, who was defeated Tuesday night. The GOP saw Blankenship, who was convicted of willfully conspiring to violate mine safety laws after a fatal mine explosion that killed 29 miners, as a risk to their chances to defeat Manchin. 
 
After Blankenship's primary defeat, the party can move ahead with state Attorney General Patrick Morrisey as their nominee. 
 
The America Rising document bashes Manchin for claiming to be a "bipartisan moderate" while sitting "to the left of West Virginia voters on most issues." 
 
The group plans to hit Manchin for his vote against the GOP tax plan while highlighting his admission in December that there are "some good things" in the bill that could help people. They also plan to target Manchin's work to expand background checks in 2013 and his support for raising the minimum age to purchase a rifle in 2018, days after a deadly shooting at a Florida high school. 
 
But even as West Virginia has moved significantly to the right since Manchin joined office, he's a well-established brand there. Democrats see him as virtually the only Democrat who could keep that seat in play. 
 
In Indiana, where businessman Mike Braun took the top spot in the Republican primary, America Rising plans to double down on the GOP's top line of attack on Donnelly, criticizing him for ties to a family company that relied on workers in Mexico. 
 
They're also looking to paint Donnelly as a foe of the Trump administration, pointing to audio where he described the Trump base as not representative of the country as well as a fundraising pitch critical of Vice President Pence.
 
Donnelly's camp has been pushing back against those attacks for months by highlighting public policy research that shows him as one of the most bipartisan senators in Congress. 
 
Donnelly and Braun are expected to face off in one of the toughest matchups of the 2018 election cycle in a state Trump won by 19 points. 
 
In Ohio, where Republicans are hoping Rep. Jim RenacciJames (Jim) B. RenacciDemocrats fear Ohio slipping further away in 2020 Medicare for All won't deliver what Democrats promise GOP rep: If Mueller had found collusion, 'investigation would have wrapped up very quickly' MORE can finally knock off Brown, America Rising is planning to attack Brown's progressive record as proof that his status at the "darling of the progressive Left" doesn't fit in the purple state. 
 
The memo points to his support for single-payer health care — a measure Republicans love to needle Democrats for supporting by noting its significant cost. The GOP also uses that legislation to tie Brown to Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersBiden says he won't legalize marijuana because it may be a 'gateway drug' Democrats seize on report of FedEx's Bernie Sanders tax bill to slam Trump's tax plan If we want to save earth, we need to change how we eat MORE (I-Vt.), an avid supporter of the plan that is wildly popular on the left but far more controversial on the right. 
 
But dislodging Brown will be difficult — he's held elected office in the state for more than 30 years, and his populist streak has allowed him to run ahead of other Democrats in Ohio. 
 
--Updated at 4:10 p.m.