Hillary Clinton Becomes First Female Nominee of Major U.S. Political Party

Carrie Dann
NBC News

PHILADELPHIA — Hillary Clinton is now officially the Democratic presidential nominee, making history as the first woman ever to secure the backing of a major American political party.

Clinton was formally nominated on the second evening of the Democratic National Convention on Tuesday, more than nine years after launching her first presidential bid. It was largely an evening of unity after an opening night marked by resistance from die-hard supporters of Democratic runner-up, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.

In a culmination of days' worth of efforts to unify the party, Sanders himself moved at the conclusion of the lengthy state-by-state roll call vote — after Clinton had won a majority of delegates but before her formal nomination was announced to the thousands gathered in the Wells Fargo Center — to select Clinton as the nominee.

"I move that all votes cast by delegates be reflected in the official record, and I move that Hillary Clinton be selected as the nominee of the Democratic Party for president of the United States," he announced from the convention floor as delegates roared their approval.

A former first lady, New York senator and secretary of state, Clinton enters the general election with a lengthy resume of public service, nearly universal name recognition, and historically high negative favorability ratings after failing to shake recurrent scandals over her handling of a private email server during her tenure at the State Department.

She will face an even more unpopular Republican nominee — political novice and real estate mogul Donald Trump — in the general election.

Clinton finally becomes the nominee of her party after a pair of grueling primary contests stretching over two election cycles. Her first run for the presidency, announced in January 2007, ended in a bitter loss to then-Sen. Barack Obama in a Democratic primary that stretched into the summer of the election year.

After serving as her former rival's Secretary of State, Clinton began her long-planned second White House run as the prohibitive favorite last year. But any hopes of a quick coronation were derailed by fervor on the political left for Sanders, whose significant wins in early northeastern contests and caucus states fueled backers' hopes that he could erase Clinton's substantial delegate lead.

Those dreams faded after a series of decisive wins by the former first lady late in the primary calendar. Ultimately, Clinton bested Sanders by over 380 pledged delegates and secured about 55 percent of the total primary votes cast.

Still, Sanders declined to endorse Clinton for over a month as he pushed the presumptive nominee to make major changes to the Democratic Party's platform and primary rules.

Even after Sanders endorsed the presumptive nominee in a joint rally earlier this month, some of his most vocal supporters at the Democratic National Convention continued to resist Clinton's candidacy, booing her name on the floor Monday afternoon and successfully calling for the ouster of Democratic National Committee head Debbie Wasserman Schultz.

But calls for Democratic unity Monday night from first lady Michelle Obama, progressive hero Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Sanders himself served to calm all but the Vermont senator's most inconsolable backers.

Still, the evening was not without notes of disunity, A group of Sanders supporters marched out of the Wells Fargo Center as celebrations were underway.