Hillary Clinton has secured enough delegates to win the Democratic Party nomination for president, according to a tally maintained by the Associated Press news agency.
Her victory arrived nearly eight years to the day after she conceded her first White House campaign to Barack Obama and ends weeks of growing frustration as her rival, Bernie Sanders, promises to fight on.
“We really need to bring a close to this primary process and get on to defeating Donald Trump.” Nancy Worley, superdelegate.
It came even before voters go to the polls on the final “Super Tuesday” of the campaign, a day when Mrs Clinton was widely expected to collect the rest of the delegates needed to ease past the threshold of 2383.
Instead, the number was reached through a handful of so-called superdelegates – senior party members who are free to vote for whomever they choose – who told AP they had finally decided to back the former first lady.
Nancy Worley, a superdelegate who chairs Alabama’s Democratic Party and provided one of the last endorsements, said: “We really need to bring a close to this primary process and get on to defeating Donald Trump.”
Mr Sanders’ decision to keep fighting until July’s party convention has caused growing divisions among Democrats.
While Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee, has been able to being unifying his party while keeping up a barrage of withering attacks on Mrs Clinton, she has had to keep one eye on the primary race.
However, the AP tally puts her at 1,812 pledged delegates won in primaries and caucuses, plus 571 superdelegates – effectively ending fears that questions about an email server and her personal style might trip her up at the second attempt.
And his spokesman made the same point, accusing AP of rushing to judgment.
“Our job from now until the convention is to convince those superdelegates that Bernie is by far the strongest candidate against Donald Trump,” said Michael Briggs.
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