Former Vice President Joe Biden has secured enough delegates to formally clinch the Democratic presidential nomination setting the stage for a challenge to President Trump in the November election.
A Democratic candidate needs at least 1,991 delegates to secure the nomination.
Biden crossed the threshold when results came late on Friday after seven states and the District of Columbia held presidential primaries earlier in the week.
The achievement was a formality after Biden became the presumptive nominee when his main rival, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, quit the race in April.
‘It was an honor to compete alongside one of the most talented groups of candidates the Democratic party has ever fielded – and I am proud to say that we are going into this general election a united party,’ Biden said on Friday.
On Twitter, Biden wrote: ‘Folks, tonight we secured the 1,991 delegates needed to win the Democratic nomination. I’m going to spend every day fighting to earn your vote so that, together, we can win the battle for the soul of this nation.’
Folks, tonight we secured the 1,991 delegates needed to win the Democratic nomination. I’m going to spend every day fighting to earn your vote so that, together, we can win the battle for the soul of this nation. https://t.co/sl3wFGabpg
— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) June 6, 2020
In a short post, Biden recalled standing on stage in South Carolina and saying that ‘ours was a campaign for everyone who has been knocked down, counted out, and left behind. Those words take on an ever greater resonance today, at a time when so many Americans are hurting and have suffered so much loss.
‘So many feel knocked down by the public health and economic crisis we are weathering. So many feel counted out and left behind by a society that has for too long viewed them as less than equal, their lives as less than precious.’
He also noted that ‘This is a difficult time in America’s history. And Donald Trump’s angry, divisive politics is no answer. The country is crying out for leadership. Leadership that can unite us.’
Biden wrote: ‘Today, I’m once again asking every American who feels knocked down, counted out, and left behind, to join our campaign. Because we aren’t just building the movement that will defeat Donald Trump, we are building the movement that will transform our nation. I truly believe that when we stand together, finally, as One America, we will rise stronger than before. This is the United States of America. There is nothing we can’t do, if we do it together.’
At one point, the Democratic presidential field had more than 20 candidates, with contenders dropping out as their chances faded.
Biden had a slow start and recorded his first win in South Carolina at the end of February.
After that, some other candidates seen as centrist or moderate dropped out before Super Tuesday votes on March 3, when the highest number of delegates were up for grabs and Biden won key contests.
It then became a two-horse race with Sanders, who was seen as a progressive candidate challenging incumbent Democrats.
While Sanders was a front-runner after early races, Biden carried his Super Tuesday momentum into subsequent contests and increased his lead.
Sanders quit the race upon seeing no path to the nomination as the novel coronavirus outbreak made campaigning and outreach difficult.
A U.S. senator and then vice president under President Obama, Biden has promised to choose a woman as his running mate, with several black candidates likely in the running.