Bismarck: With a victorious mound of delegates in hand, Republican Donald Trump on Thursday claimed support from "almost everybody" in his party and turned his attention to his likely Democratic presidential opponent, Hillary Clinton, who is still locked in a divisive primary contest.
Trump vaulted past the gateway of 1,237 needed to win the party`s primary race when a group of unbound delegates from North Dakota said they would support him.
The triumph caps an extraordinary rise by a political neophyte whose campaign was widely scoffed as a distraction and a publicity stunt last June, when Trump announced his candidacy.
Trump eventually swept 16 Republican rivals aside, and is the last man standing when his remaining two challengers quit the battle early this month.
Trump was put over the top in the AP delegate count by a small number of the party's unbound delegates who told the AP they would support him at the national convention in July. Among them was Oklahoma GOP chairwoman Pam Pollard.
"I think he has touched a part of our electorate that doesn't like where our country is," Pollard said. "I have no problem supporting Mr. Trump."
The Republican Party will not make the delegate results official until its national convention in July, when delegates vote for their nominee. Trump was already the Republican presumptive nominee, following a spectacular and unlikely run for the White House that thoroughly upended American politics.
On Thursday, he took a victory lap of sorts, addressing a crowd in Billings, Montana where he mapped out a bit of his future campaign strategy to focus on swing states like Florida, Ohio and Michigan, as well as California.
"I want to focus on 15 or so states," he said. "Because we have to win, and I want my energy to be put into states where it could go either way."