WASHINGTON, May 26 (Reuters) - U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has reached the number of delegates needed to secure the party's presidential nomination, the Associated Press reported on Thursday, citing its own delegate count.
A small number of unbound delegates said they would support Trump at the party's July convention, the AP reported, pushing the billionaire businessman over the 1,237-delegate threshold he needed to avoid a contested convention ahead of the Nov. 8 election.
Trump, a billionaire New York real estate magnate and former reality TV star, had become the presumptive Republican nominee earlier this month when his final two rivals dropped out of the race. But securing the necessary delegates effectively ends Trump's primary campaign, in which he outlasted 16 other Republicans seeking the nomination.
Republicans are expected to finalize their pick when delegates vote during the July 18-21 convention in Cleveland.
Trump would face either former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton or U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, who are vying for the Democratic nomination. (Reporting by Megan Cassella; Editing by Mohammad Zargham and Jonathan Oatis)