Former Vice President Joe Biden has officially secured the majority of delegates needed to formally be named the Democratic presidential nomination, according to ABC News’ delegate count.
The delegate count officially sets up a face-off between Biden and President Donald Trump in November’s general election.
Biden has been the only Democratic candidate left in the presidential race since early April, outlasting 28 other candidates for the top spot on the Democratic ticket.
“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. I am going to spend every day between now and November 3rd 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,” Biden said in a statement released late Friday evening.
The former vice president became the party’s presumptive nominee when his lone rival for the Democratic nomination, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., ended his bid for the presidency. Sanders subsequently endorsed Biden the week after dropping out of the race.
Biden, who launched his campaign in April of 2019 and was labeled an early frontrunner for the Democratic nomination, stumbled through the first three nominating contests, finishing a distant fourth in the Iowa caucuses and fifth in the New Hampshire primary.
But it was his blowout win in the South Carolina primary in late February, fueled by a late endorsement from influential Congressman and House Majority Whip James Clyburn and overwhelmingly strength with black voters, that rejuvenated Biden’s campaign and propelled him to a delegate lead that soon became insurmountable.
"Just days ago, the press and the pundits had declared his candidacy dead. Now, thanks to all of you — the heart of the Democratic Party — we just won and we've won big because of you, and we are very much alive," Biden said with Clyburn at his side during his victory speech in Columbia, South Carolina on primary night.
The resounding victory was followed days later by a cavalcade of endorsements from some of Biden’s key rivals for the Democratic nomination, including Senator Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., former South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg, and former Texas Congressman Beto O’Rourke.
The endorsements forebode Biden’s slate of wins on Super Tuesday, ultimately coming out on top in 10 of the night’s 14 contests and cementing a delegate lead over Sanders that was never overcome.Biden now finds himself in a head-to-head matchup with Trump and contending with a campaign upended by twin crises: a global pandemic that has taken the lives of over 100,000 Americans, and a national reckoning over race and policing that has sparked massive protests.
Since the COVID-19 crisis shut down the physical campaign trail, Biden has largely been confined to his Wilmington, Delaware home, but this week has reemerged to offer blistering critiques of President Trump’s handling of both the virus and the unrest in the wake of the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who died after a white Minnesota police officer put his knee on his neck for over 8 minutes.
“Donald Trump is patting himself on the back, he has no idea in my view what's really going on in this country. He has no idea the depth of the pain that so many people are still enduring. He remains completely oblivious to the human toll of his indifference. It's time for him to step out of his own bunker. Take a look around the consequences of his words and his actions,” Biden said Friday during a speech on the state of the nation’s economy in Dover, Delaware.
The most recent ABC News/Washington Post poll shows Biden leading Trump by 10 points with registered voters in a head-to-head match up--a lead that slips to only 5 points among voters who are registered and certain they will vote in November.