CLEVELAND — The Republican Party has officially become the party of Trump.
With a roll-call vote at the Republican National Convention, billionaire businessman Donald Trump’s campaign has now transformed from an apparent long-shot attention grab by a reality television star to a real-life run at the American presidency.
Though he had no previous political experience, the real estate mogul and star of NBC’s “The Apprentice” emerged victorious from a crowded field of Republican senators and governors, consistently out-performing expectations in state after state throughout the primary process.
Donald Trump speaks at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. (John Moore/Getty Images)
Anti-Trump delegates made one final push Tuesday night at the Quicken Loans Arena, with some delegations temporarily leaving the convention floor to figure out if they could unbind themselves from their states' results.
But the resistance was unsuccessful. As the votes were cast, Trump reached the 1,237 delegate votes required to be the official party nominee.
Earlier in the voting, the state of New York passed its turn so that it could be the state to put Trump over the top. Donald Trump, Jr. made the announcement of the state's votes from the convention floor, adding, "Dad, we love you."
The RNC band played "New York, New York" as the screen at the top of the arena displayed the words "over the top" and delegates cheered.
The turning point in the Republican primary came February in New Hampshire — after a loss to Cruz in grassroots conservative-dominated Iowa, Trump took the more centrist Granite State by 20 percentage points.
In Albany in April, Trump promised supporters: "We're going to win so much, you may even get tired of winning." He was talking about his hypothetical administration's success around the globe, but it also summed up his Republican primary run.
His candidacy made waves from the beginning, as controversial early statements about Hispanic immigrants and women — as well as his larger-than-life public persona — earned him nearly round-the-clock media coverage and attention.
Trump began his campaign with a focus on the U.S. economy, and pledged to become "the greatest jobs president that God ever created."
On Tuesday, the RNC's theme was "Make America Work Again," a play on Trump's revamped Ronald Reagan slogan, "Make America Great Again," which he unveiled early in his run by wearing a white trucker hat emblazoned with the phrase on a trip to the U.S. border.
Trump ended up clinching the nomination in May, earning almost three times as many delegates as his nearest competitor, Cruz. Cruz was set to speak Wednesday night at the RNC in Cleveland, even without yet endorsing Trump.
With Tuesday's vote, Trump is now the official choice to take on presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton in November. The Republican currently trails the former Democratic first lady and secretary of state in Real Clear Politics' national poll average, but is easily within striking distance to take the White House.
Last week, Trump announced conservative Indiana Gov. Mike Pence as his running mate. Pence will accept his vice presidential nomination and deliver remarks on Wednesday night in Cleveland.
Trump is expected to accept the GOP nomination in a speech on Thursday night.
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