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Elizabeth Warren, Joe Bidenand Pete Buttigieg. Photos: Sean Rayford, Scott Olson/Getty Images

Former Vice President Joe Biden's commanding lead has taken a hit in South Carolina, dropping from 46% to 37% as Sen. Elizabeth Warren (17%) and Mayor Pete Buttigieg (11%) surged to the No. 2 and No. 3. spots, according to the latest Post and Courier-Change research poll of 2,312 South Carolina voters.

Why it matters: South Carolina is a key early primary state in which black voters play an especially important role. The state will host its Democratic convention on June 21, an event expected to be attended by almost every candidate.

By the numbers:

  • Joe Biden: 37% (-9)
  • Elizabeth Warren: 17% (+9)
  • Pete Buttigieg: 11% (+3)
  • Kamala Harris: 9% (-1)
  • Bernie Sanders: 9% (-6)
  • Cory Booker: 5% (+1)
  • Beto O’Rourke: 4% (+2)
  • Andrew Yang: 3% (+1)
  • All other candidates poll at 1% or less

Other highlights:

  • Biden leads in all age groups except for voters aged 18-to-34.
  • Biden has a strong lead among black voters at 52%.
  • The race is closer between the candidates among white voters. Biden is still first at 28%, but Warren is only 8 points behind.

Go deeper: Poll suggests 6 2020 Democrats would beat Trump in head-to-head matchup

Methodology: Change Research surveyed 2,312 registered voters in South Carolina (933 likely 2020 Democratic primary voters and 1,183 likely 2020 Republican primary voters) from June 11-14, 2019. The survey was conducted online, using Change Research’s Bias Correct Engine. Change Research reaches voters via targeted online ads that point people to an online survey instrument. The margin of error for the full sample, as traditionally calculated, is ± 2.0%.

Go deeper

Storms pummel flood-hit Pacific Northwest as border river overflows

An image of the water-logged Sumas Prairie area taken last Friday. Photo: B.C. Ministry of Transportation/Twitter.

The latest ferocious storm system to hit the Pacific Northwest triggered fresh evacuation orders and at least one mudslide in flood-ravaged British Columbia, Canada, late Sunday.

Threat level: Flood sirens sounded in Washington state as the Nooksack River overflowed. Henry Braun, mayor of Abbotsford, B.C., told reporters the water flow was headed toward the Canadian border city later Sunday. "There's nothing to stop it," he said.

Updated 4 hours ago - Health

First North American Omicron cases identified in Canada

COVID-19 testing personnel at Toronto Pearson International Airport in September. Photo: Steve Russell/Toronto Star via Getty Images

The first two cases of the new Omicron variant have been detected in North America, the Canadian government announced Sunday evening.

Driving the news: The World Health Organization has named Omicron a "variant of concern," but cautioned earlier on Sunday that it is not yet clear whether it's more transmissible than other strains of COVID-19.

Former Defense Secretary Esper sues Pentagon over book

Former President Trump and former Defense Secretary Mark Esper at the White House in 2020. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

Former Defense Secretary Mark Esper filed a lawsuit Sunday against the Defense Department, accusing the Pentagon of "censoring" his First Amendment rights by redacting aspects of his upcoming book on the Trump administration.

The big picture: Esper, who served as defense secretary from July 2019 until he was fired by then-President Trump in November last year, alleges in the suit that "significant text" is "being improperly withheld from publication" of the manuscript "under the guise of classification."