Romney hits ‘magic number’ for GOP nomination

Mitt Romney (CNN/Mark Biello)

(CNN) — Mitt Romney hit his party’s “magic number” on Tuesday, unofficially clinching the Republican presidential nomination in a race he entered as the front-runner and has had to himself for weeks.

Romney led the pack when he announced his second run for the White House last June, and he has watched his rivals for the nomination slowly trickle out as their own wins looked increasingly unlikely.

The delegates to put him over the 1,144 necessary for the GOP nomination came in Texas, the lone state to vote this week. Romney entered the day 78 delegates away from the magic number, and on Tuesday CNN projected he would win the state’s GOP presidential primary, where 152 of the state’s 155 delegates were at stake.

On Tuesday, Romney said he was humbled to have secured the requisite delegates to become the GOP nominee.

“I am honored that Americans across the country have given their support to my candidacy and I am humbled to have won enough delegates to become the Republican Party’s 2012 presidential nominee,” Romney wrote. “Our party has come together with the goal of putting the failures of the last 3½ years behind us. I have no illusions about the difficulties of the task before us. But whatever challenges lie ahead, we will settle for nothing less than getting America back on the path to full employment and prosperity. On November 6, I am confident that we will unite as a country and begin the hard work of fulfilling the American promise and restoring our country to greatness.”

The chairman of the Republican National Committee, Reince Priebus, congratulated Romney on the milestone, saying Romney would “offer America the new direction we so desperately need.”

Priebus’ Democratic counterpart, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, was less enthusiastic.

“Tonight, after six years of trying and millions of dollars spent, and after a year of tepid support against one of the weakest fields in history, Mitt Romney has finally secured enough delegates to become the Republican Party’s presidential nominee,” wrote Wasserman Schultz, the chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee. “Romney may have finally gained enough delegates to become the nominee, but what’s been truly remarkable about his path to the nomination is how much damage he’s left in his wake as he enters the general election.”

Romney has been the presumptive nominee for weeks, but will not be the official party nominee until the Republican National Convention, set to be held the week of August 27 in Tampa, Florida.

Romney launched his campaign on a warm day last June, telling his supporters gathered at a New Hampshire farm that “Barack Obama has failed America.”

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