Former US Vice President Joe Biden has crossed the threshold for the Democratic presidential nomination, locking up a contest for the White House with incumbent President Donald Trump.
Biden, now the sole remaining presidential candidate in the Democratic Party, has won 1,993 delegates to the national convention, surpassing the benchmark number of 1,991 needed for the nomination, Xinhua news agency quoted an estimate by the Associated Press as showing on Friday.
The estimate came as Biden swept primaries in seven states and the District of Columbia Tuesday.
Although the votes were still being counted, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, who suspended his presidential campaign in April but remained on the ballot to gain delegates, failed to reach the 15 per cent threshold to receive delegates in several contests, yielding more delegates to Biden.
“It was an honour 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 in a statement on Friday night.
“I am going to spend every day between now and November 3 fighting to earn the votes of Americans all across this great country so that, together, we can win the battle for the soul of this nation, and make sure that as we rebuild our economy, everyone comes along,” he said.
This year’s presidential election comes at a time when the US has been plagued by the coronavirus pandemic that has frozen the national economy, and, more recently, when nationwide protests against racial injustice have persisted for over a week following the killing of George Floyd, an unarmed black man, under the custody of white police in Minneapolis.
“This is a difficult time in America’s history. And Donald Trump’s angry, divisive politics is no answer,” Biden said, as Trump threatened deploying active-duty military forces to quell the unrest.
“The country is crying out for leadership. Leadership that can unite us. Leadership that can bring us together,” the 77-year-old former Senator from Delaware said.
“We need an economy that works for everyone — now. We need jobs that bring dignity — now. We need equal justice — and equal opportunities — for every American now. We need a president who cares about helping us heal — now.”
There are still primaries to be held in eight states and three US territories before the Democratic Party holds its national convention in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, in August, at which Biden will officially accept the nomination.
Biden has served in the US Senate for 36 years before becoming Vice President in 2009, serving two terms in former President Barack Obama’s administration.
Bidding for the presidency for the third time, he has vowed to choose a female running mate.
Among the potential choices are senators Kamala Harris of California, Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts — all of whom used to be his rivals in the Democratic race during this election circle.
Biden has been leading Trump in most of the national polls and in battleground states over recent months, according to data compiled by polling website RealClearPolitics.
The Election Day falls on November 3.