Barack Obama Wins Democratic Nomination
A surge of support from uncommitted delegates helped give Obama the 2,118 votes he needed to clinch the nomination and defeat rival Hillary Clinton, a former first lady who entered the race as a heavy favorite.
Obama will be crowned the Democratic nominee at the convention in August and will face Republican John McCain in November's election to choose a successor to President George W. Bush.
"Tonight, we mark the end of one historic journey with the beginning of another," Obama said in remarks prepared for a victory celebration in St. Paul, Minnesota, at the site of the Republican convention in September.
"Tonight, I can stand before you and say that I will be the Democratic nominee for President of the United States."
Obama's win over Clinton, projected by U.S. networks, came in one of the closest and longest nomination fights in recent U.S. political history. Five months of voting in 54 nominating contests concluded on Tuesday night with votes in Montana and South Dakota.
Clinton, who would have been the first woman nominee in U.S. political history, won in South Dakota, adding to the more than 1,900 delegates she gathered during the campaign. Her aides gave mixed signals about her immediate intentions, but said she would not concede on Tuesday night.
Facing defeat, Clinton told New York members of Congress that she would be open to becoming Obama's vice presidential running mate, and her backers began to turn up the pressure on Obama to pick her as his No. 2.
Obama, 46, is serving his first term in the U.S. Senate from Illinois and would be the fifth-youngest president in history. He was an Illinois state senator when he burst on the national scene with a well received keynote speech at the 2004 Democratic convention.
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