Claiming her place in history, Hillary Clinton declared victory Tuesday night and become the first woman to lead a major American political party. "This campaign is about making sure there are no ceilings, no limits on any of us," Clinton said during a rally in Brooklyn, eight years to the day after she ended her first failed White House run.
Clinton had already secured the delegates needed for the nomination, according to an Associated Press tally. She added to her totals with victories in New Jersey and New Mexico, two of the six states voting Tuesday.
Clinton faces a two-front challenge in the coming days. She must appeal to the enthusiastic supporters of her rival Bernie Sanders - who insists he still has a narrow path to the nomination - and sharpen her contrasts with presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump.
"It never feels good to put our heart into a cause or a candidate you believe in and come up short," she said. "I know that feeling well. But as we look ahead to the battle that awaits, let's remember all that unites us."
She accused Trump of wanting to win "by stoking fear and rubbing salt in wounds - and reminding us daily just how great he is." The Democratic race was ending amid new turmoil among the Republicans. GOP leaders recoiled at Trump's comments about a Hispanic judge, with one senator even pulling his endorsement.
Clinton's win in New Jersey came a day after she secured the 2,383 delegates she needed to become first female presumptive nominee of a major political party. Her total includes pledged delegates won in primaries and caucuses, as well as super-delegates - the party officials and officeholders who can back a candidate of their choosing.