Al Jazeera News
Democrat frontrunner wins New Jersey and New Mexico to become the first female presidential nominee of a big US party.
Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton has laid claim to the party’s presidential nomination after a series of victories in primaries held on Tuesday evening.
Clinton took the states of New Mexico, South Dakota, and New Jersey before declaring victory over her party rival Bernie Sanders, who won North Dakota.
Serving US President Barack Obama called Clinton to congratulate her on securing enough delegates to clinch the nomination.
Counting is ongoing in the biggest state, California, as well as Montana.
“Thanks to you, we’ve reached a milestone,” she said at a rally in New York, before taking aim at her likely Republican competitor, Donald Trump.
Clinton told supporters in New York that Trump was “temperamentally unfit” to be president, citing Trump’s attacks on a federal judge, reporters and women.
“He wants to win by stoking fear and rubbing salt in wounds and reminding us daily just how great he is,” Clinton said.
“Well, we believe we should lift each other up, not tear each other down.”
The former New York senator’s declaration of victory comes a day after the Associated Press announced she was the presumptive Democratic nominee based on a count of elected pledged delegates and unelected superdelegates.
The Sanders campaign rejected that announcement as premature and said it would continue to campaign in California.
In an interview with NBC News, Sanders expressed concern that the news of Clinton’s victory came the night before “the largest primary” and that it was based on what he described as “anonymous” commitments from superdelegates, who vote at the Democratic convention in late July.
“They got on the phone as I understand it, and started hounding superdelegates to tell them in an anonymous way who they were voting for,” he said.
“The night before the largest primary, biggest primary in the whole process, they make this announcement.
“So I was really disappointed in what The AP did.”
Sanders is set to meet Obama at the White House on Thursday, the Reuters news agency reported.