Joe Biden has formally clinched the Democratic presidential nomination, setting him up for a bruising challenge to President Donald Trump that will play out against the unprecedented backdrop of a pandemic, economic collapse and civil unrest.

“It was an honour to compete alongside one of the most talented groups of candidates the Democratic party has ever fielded,” Mr. Biden said in a statement on Friday night, “and I am proud to say that we are going into this general election a united party.”

Delegate math

The former Vice-President has effectively been his party’s leader since his last challenger in the Democratic primary, Bernie Sanders, ended his campaign in April. But Mr. Biden pulled together the 1,991 delegates needed to become the nominee on Friday after seven States and the District of Columbia held presidential primaries on Tuesday.

Mr. Biden reached the threshold three days after the primaries because several States, overwhelmed by huge increases in mail ballots, took days to tabulate results.

Mr. Biden now has 1,995 delegates, with contests still to come in eight States and three U.S. territories. “This is a difficult time in America’s history,” Mr. Biden said on Friday night. “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.”

Mr. Biden spent 36 years in the Senate before becoming Barack Obama’s Vice-President. This is Mr. Biden’s third bid for the presidency and his success in capturing the Democratic nomination was driven by strong support from black voters.

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