It's not even April yet, but welcome to the start of the 2018 election cycle.

Constituents who attend Senator Joe Manchin's town hall in Morgantown, West Virginia, tomorrow will find anti-Manchin messages popping up on their social media feeds.

The group behind it: Senate Leadership Fund, a group with close ties to Mitch McConnell that spent (together with its sister group) more than $160 million in the 2016 cycle. That's by far the most of any Republican outside group.

What's interesting about this ad: Forget the spend. It's tiny — only a five-figure buy, we're told. What's interesting is the message, which foreshadows a Republican strategy to defeat this red state Democrat. The digital ad, entitled "Fooled," attacks Manchin for supporting Hillary Clinton. She's loathed by West Virginians and made one of the worst gaffes of the campaign when she said she'd be putting a lot of coal miners out of work.

Bottom line: Republicans will seek to undermine Manchin's efforts to cozy up to Trump in a state where the President remains supremely popular.

Go deeper

Trump says he wants 9 justices in case Supreme Court must decide 2020 election

President Trump told reporters at the White House on Wednesday that part of his urgency to quickly push through a replacement for the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is that he believes the Supreme Court may have to decide the result of the 2020 election.

Why it matters: Trump claimed at the Republican National Convention that the only way he will lose the election is if it is "rigged," and he has declined to say whether he would accept the results of November's election if he loses to Joe Biden.

"Not enough": Protesters react to no murder charges in Breonna Taylor case

A grand jury has indicted Brett Hankison, one of the Louisville police officers who entered Breonna Taylor's home in March, on three counts of wanton endangerment for firing shots blindly into neighboring apartments.

The state of play: Angering protesters, the grand jury did not indict any of the three officers involved in the botched drug raid on homicide or manslaughter charges related to the death of Taylor.

Judge orders Eric Trump to testify in New York probe before election

Photo: Ira L. Black/Corbis via Getty Images

A judge on Wednesday ordered Eric Trump to comply with a subpoena to testify before the presidential election in a New York probe into the Trump family business.

The state of play: New York Attorney General Letitia James (D) last month said her office had filed a lawsuit to compel the Trump Organization to comply with subpoenas related to an investigation into whether President Trump and his company improperly inflated the value of its assets on financial statements.

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