WASHINGTON - Mitt Romney clinched the nomination of the Republican Party on Tuesday, May 29, with a resounding victory of Texas primary to face Democratic President Barack Obama in this year's election.
"Our party has come together with the goal of putting the failures of the last three and a half years behind us, Romney said in a statement cited by Reuters.
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.
Romney secured the Republican nomination after winning 71 percent of Texas's 155 delegates.
The victory earned Romney the benchmark of 1,144 delegates needed to become the Republicans' presidential candidate after a long primary battle with a host of conservative rivals.
Romney, the first Mormon to clinch the presidential nomination, will be formally nominated at the Republicans' convention in Florida in late August.
The former Massachusetts governor endured serious threats from Republican opponents from Rick Perry to Rick Santorum to win the Republican ticket.
He will have a five-month sprint to convince voters to trust him over Obama in the November election.
All indications are that Americans face the possibility of a cliffhanger election in November that will be decided by relatively small percentages of voters in as many as a dozen battleground states, such as Ohio, Florida and Virginia.
"Gov. Romney will offer America the new direction we so desperately need, Republican National Committee (RNC) chairman Reince Priebus said.
We cannot afford four more years of President Obama's big government agenda, deficit spending, and attacks on American free enterprise.
But Romney is facing mistrust among conservatives over his record in Massachusetts.
"I was looking forward to voting for Rick Santorum," voter Dan Cortez in San Antonio told Reuters.
He said he would now back Romney, for he believes it is important to elect "anybody who can beat Obama."
Romney now faces a lengthy to-do list to gird for his duel with Obama, from picking a vice presidential running mate to raising hundreds of millions of dollars for a national campaign.
In the immediate weeks ahead, his goal is to bolster his case that Obama has been ineffective in handling the sluggish US economy and hostile to job creators.
This argument will move soon to the energy industry, which Romney thinks Obama has bungled by not ramping up domestic production of oil and natural gas.
Romney in weeks ahead will turn to Obama's 2010 healthcare overhaul.
The US Supreme Court is to decide in late June on the constitutionality of the law's requirement that all Americans purchase health insurance.
Romney has vowed to repeal the law if elected, citing it as an example of too much government under Obama.
He has faced criticism from Republicans for the healthcare overhaul he developed for Massachusetts that Obama has called a model for revamping the US system.The Republican, while popular with white men and military veterans, has work to do to try to bolster his popularity among women and Hispanics, two key voting blocs.