After the dust settled early Wednesday morning, it was clear that Final Tuesday had firmly established Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump as their respective party's presidential nominee.
On the Republican side, Trump had already held the title of nominee-in-waiting for a couple of weeks as several states shifted their delegate allocations and unbound delegates pledged their support. But after winning 298 of the 303 delegates up for grabs, he guaranteed he will have the support of more than 1,237 bound delegates for the first ballot of the GOP national convention next month in Cleveland.
"Together, we accomplished what nobody thought was possible—and we're only getting started," he told supporters. "Tonight, we close one chapter in history and begin another.
"Our campaign received more primary votes than any GOP campaign in history. This is not a testament to me, but a testament to all the people like you who believed real change is possible.
"We have received wide spread support, winning 37 states from New Hampshire, to Alabama, to California and everywhere in between. You have given me the honor to lead the Republican Party to victory this fall, and I won't let you down. I will make you proud of your party, our movement and most importantly, our country.
"To everyone who voted for me throughout this campaign: thank you.
"My message continues to resonate and I know that my vision for the country is one that will make us stronger and better than ever before. Now more than ever we must be smart, we must be vigilant, and we must be tough. Every day moving forward—we must work to bring about all of the changes necessary to put an end to the destruction caused by the current administration.
"I am going to be the best jobs President God ever created! We are going to revitalize our economy, rebuild our infrastructure, repeal and replace ObamaCare, strengthen our military, defeat ISIS, end illegal immigration and put America first!
"This is a movement—it's about common sense and doing the right thing. I'm going to take care of people. I'm going to make sure this country comes first. As Americans, we have incredible potential and I am the leader this country needs to Make America Great Again."
On the Democratic side, Clinton edged out U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-Vt.), 170-117. She picked up an additional 16 superdelegates along the way to pad her lead, but she will have to continue to work to hang onto superdelegate support if she is to officially win her party's nomination.
Outwardly, however, she is projecting an air of confidence.
"Tonight's victory is not about one person," she told supporters. "It belongs to generations of women and men who struggled and sacrificed and made this moment possible. In our country, it started right here in New York, a place called Seneca Falls in 1848 where a small but determined group of women and men came together with the idea that women deserved equal rights and they set it forth in something called the declaration of sent and it was first time in human history that that kind of declaration occurred. So we all owe so much to those who came before and tonight belongs to all of you.
"I want to thank all the volunteers, community leaders, the activists and organizers who supported our campaign in every state and territory. And thanks especially to our friends in New Jersey for such a resounding victory tonight. Thanks for talking to your neighbors, for making contributions. You're efforts have produced a strong majority of the popular vote. Victories in a majority of the contests and after tonight a majority of pledged delegates. I want to thank all the people across our country who have taken the time to talk with me. I learned a lot about you.
"And I learned about those persistent problems and the unfinished promise of America that you're living with. So many of you feel like you're out there on your own, that no one has your back. Well, I do. I hear you. I see you. And as your president, I will always have your back."
Like Trump, Clinton now faces the difficult task of uniting a very fractured party. And, she will be doing it as third-party candidates—like former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson, the Libertarian Party nominee—try to attract highly disgruntled Sanders supporters to their own causes.
The race to November 8 is now underway.
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