PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Breaking a historic barrier, Democrats triumphantly chose Hillary Clinton as their White House nominee Tuesday night, the first woman to ever lead a major political party into the general election.
Delegates erupted in cheers throughout the roll call of states on the floor of the Democratic convention. It was a jubilant start to a night that was to include former President Bill Clinton taking the convention stage to deliver a personal validation for his wife.
The roll call was one more opportunity for Sanders supporters to voice their fierce loyalty to the Vermont senator. Sanders sat in the arena soaking in the cheers and waving to the crowd.
But the convention belonged to Clinton, who will take on Republican Donald Trump in November.
Clinton claimed the Democratic presidential nomination after rival Bernie Sanders asked delegates at the party’s national convention to nominate her by acclimation. It was a dramatic end to the roll call of states.
Sanders told the convention that he wanted the procedural rules to be suspended and that Clinton be selected as the party’s nominee.
Her landmark achievement saturated the roll call with emotion and symbols of women’s long struggle to break through political barriers. A 102-year-old woman, born before women had the right to vote, cast the ballots for Arizona.
Martha McKenna, a Clinton delegate from Maryland, said the night felt like a celebration for Sanders’ campaign as well as Clinton’s. But the mother of two young girls said she was most excited to see Clinton officially named.
“The idea that I’m going to be here when the first woman president is nominated is overwhelming,” she said.
Clinton’s campaign hoped the night of achievement, personal stories and praise could chip away at the deep distrust many voters, including some Democrats, have of the former secretary of state, senator and first lady. Much of the convention’s second night was being devoted to introducing voters to Clinton anew, including three hours of speakers highlighting issues she has championed for years, including health care and advocacy for children and families.
“Tonight we will make history, about 100 years in the making,” said Karen Finney, a senior adviser for Clinton’s campaign. “What we’re really going to focus on tonight is telling that story, and telling her story, talking about the fights of her life.”