The former vice president passed the milestone after collecting 1,993 delegates to the national convention, two more than the 1,991 needed to become the nominee.
“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 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.”
The AP said Biden obtained the final votes he needed in primaries on Tuesday (June 2). States were still tabulating a surge of mail-in votes from those contests on Friday.
The delegate collection process was complicated by the decision of a number of states to postpone their primaries once the country went into a lockdown because of the coronavirus.
The Democratic National Committee issued waivers to every state that delayed its primary.
Biden became the de facto nominee after his last serious challenger, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, suspended his campaign in April. But in an unusual deal to keep peace within the party, the Biden campaign agreed to rule changes that allowed Sanders to continue to accrue delegates.
That – plus coronavirus-related delays of many state primaries – prolonged the delegate counting into June.
“This is a difficult time in America’s history,” Biden’s statement said. “And Donald Trump’s angry, divisive politics is no answer. The country is crying out for leadership. Leadership that can unite us. Leadership that can bring us together.”
Biden clinched the nomination after a remarkable comeback, in which he finished outside the top three in the first two primary contests. His bid was revived by black voters in South Carolina and the quick consolidation of the moderate wing of the Democratic Party ahead of Super Tuesday.