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Joe Biden campaigning in South Carolina in November. Photo: Sean Rayford/Getty Images

Campaigns are already deploying staff, surrogates and even the candidates themselves to South Carolina to get a jump start on what many view as the most important of the early-voting states.

Driving the news: Joe Biden said that he will be skipping his New Hampshire primary night party to fly to South Carolina this evening, where he will address New Hampshires supporters via livestream as results roll in.

  • Symone Sanders, a senior advisor on Biden's campaign, spent yesterday in the Palmetto State doing TV hits, and canvassing across the state to rally black voters ahead of the Feb. 29 primary.
  • Pete Buttigieg's campaign says he'll be in South Carolina later this week before heading to Nevada, where the caucuses are Feb. 22. It's expecting Quentin Hart — the African American mayor of Waterloo, Iowa — to head to South Carolina to stump for Pete. 
  • Tom Steyer left New Hampshire to spend the day before its primary campaigning in South Carolina, where he's already dumped millions of dollars into his operation.
  • Elizabeth Warren's team had surrogate Sheriff Steve Tompkins of Massachusetts in South Carolina last weekend, as well as Black Womxn For — a group of 100 black women activists — while she spends time in New Hampshire.

The state of play: Biden once had a 31-point lead in South Carolina. A (Charleston) Post and Courier/Change Research poll out Feb. 2 shows him still in first, but with a five-point lead on Bernie Sanders (25%/20%).

  • Tom Steyer was in third (18%).

This story has been updated with the news that Biden is leaving New Hampshire early.

Go deeper

Updated 2 hours ago - World

U.S. airstrike kills senior al-Qaeda leader in Syria, DOD says

A displacement camp near the village of Qah in Syria's northwestern Idlib province. Photo: Ahmad Al-Atrash/AFP via Getty Images

A U.S. airstrike in northwest Syria on Friday killed senior al-Qaeda leader Abdul Hamid al-Matar, U.S. Central Command said in a statement.

Why it matters: Syria serves as a "safe haven" for the extremist group to plan external operations, according to U.S. Army Maj. John Rigsbee.

Updated 7 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Giuliani associate Lev Parnas convicted of campaign finance crimes

Lev Parnas, a former associate of then-President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Florida businessman Lev Parnas was convicted Friday on charges of conspiracy to make foreign contributions to political campaigns, according to multiple outlets.

Why it matters: Prosecutors said Parnas, then an associate of former President Donald Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, funneled over $150,000 from a Russian businessman into U.S. campaigns as part of an effort to land licenses in the U.S.'s legal cannabis industry.

Supreme Court agrees to hear challenges to Texas abortion law

Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

The Supreme Court on Friday agreed to hear two cases challenging Texas' abortion law, which bans the procedure as soon as six weeks into pregnancy, but left the law in place in the meantime.

Why it matters: The court is moving extraordinarily fast on the Texas cases, compressing into just a few days a process that normally takes months. And that schedule means the court will take up Texas' ban a month before it hears another major abortion case — a challenge to Mississippi's own 2018 ban on abortions after 15 weeks.

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