Former vice president Joe Biden clinched the Democratic presidential nomination on Friday (local time), officially setting the stage for a contentious general election fight with President Donald Trump this November.
The former vice president hit the delegate threshold on Friday, most recently winning a series of primaries on Tuesday night across the country, The Hill reported.
"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.
"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," the statement read further.
Biden has been the presumptive Democratic nominee since April when his last remaining primary rival, Senator Bernie Sanders, suspended his campaign. But delays in primaries due to the coronavirus pandemic left the former vice president short of the 1,991 delegates needed to clinch the nomination until Tuesday, when seven states and the District of Columbia held their presidential contests.
Heading into the June 2 primary contests, Biden had somewhere around 1,550 pledged delegates to his name. With 479 total delegates up for grabs on Tuesday, Biden needed to win at least 89 per cent of the available delegates to reach the minimum threshold for securing the nomination.
Biden has clinched the nomination at a time when Trump is under scrutiny over his response to a pandemic that has killed more than 100,000 people in the US and hurt large parts of the economy. It also comes as the country is convulsed by protests after the death of George Floyd, a 46-year-old unarmed black man, under police custody in Minneapolis.
"This is a difficult time in America''s history. And Donald Trump''s angry, divisive politics is no answer," Biden said.
"The country is crying out for leadership. Leadership that can unite us. Leadership that can bring us together. 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," he added.
With the nomination clinched, Biden''s focus will now turn to shoring up support on his left flank and his vice presidential pick.
Biden has already opened up a number of task forces on an array of issues to try to mend policy divides between centrists and progressives, tapping a several prominent liberals to serve in the groups.
The former vice president is also the focus of intense scrutiny over who he will tap as his running mate. Biden has already vowed to pick a woman, though some allies have said recent protests over Floyd''s death have elevated the need for him to pick a woman of color.
Among those who have been floated are Sens. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Rep. Val Demmings (D-Fla.) and more.
Biden will officially accept the Democratic nomination at the party''s national convention in August. (ANI)