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|Donald Trump knocked out his only serious Republican challenger Carlos Correa Astros Jersey , Ted Cruz, in Indiana's primary (AFP PhotoJewel Samad)
Washington - Billionaire Donald Trump pledged Wednesday to unify the fractured Republican Party following a bruising primary season, as he declared the battle for the White House starts now against likely Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.
Trump's path to the GOP presidential nomination is clear after his command victory in Indiana's primary Tuesday pushed remaining challengers Ted Cruz and then Ohio Governor John Kasich out of the race.
Their capitulations brought the curtain down on one of the most contentious and chaotic nomination battles in generations Nolan Ryan Astros Jersey , one in which Trump pummelled no fewer than 16 rivals into submission.
"Now we'll unify the party. We're going to get people together," Trump, 69 Craig Biggio Astros Jersey , told Fox News. "I think we'll beat Hillary Clinton."
But with unfavorability ratings among the highest of any modern presidential candidate, and concern within his own party about his temperament, the real estate mogul swiftly sought to assuage concerns about how he would govern.
"I know people aren't sure right now what a President Trump will be like Jeff Bagwell Astros Jersey ," he told The New York Times.
"But things will be fine. I'm not running for president to make things unstable for the country."
- 'They loved me' -
The delegates count for the US primaries (AFP PhotoPaz PIZARRO, Alain BOMMENEL)
Trump also began discussing the idea of his possible running mate, telling ABC News he wanted "a person with political experience" to compliment his own business acumen.
Names being tossed around included Senator Rob Portman of critical swing state Ohio J. R. Richard Youth Jersey , and South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, who as the daughter of Indian immigrants could strengthen Trump's appeal with minorities.
Trump himself said he could consider Kasich, a former congressman who helped balance the federal budget Carlos Lee Youth Jersey , as his vice presidential pick.
Kasich rarely followed rivals like Trump into the mud, aiming to stay above the fray and offer Americans optimism instead of insults and negativity.
In bowing out Wednesday, he grew wistful about the thousands of Americans he met on the campaign trail.
"They loved me Roy Oswalt Youth Jersey , they encouraged me. The people of our country changed me... with stories of their lives," he said.
Just as Trump seized the GOP mantle, a new CNN poll emerged that highlighted the formidable challenge facing him.
It found Clinton Mike Scott Youth Jersey , hoping at 68 to become America's first female commander-in-chief, leading the tycoon 54 percent to 41 percent -- her largest lead since July.
The former secretary of state however suffered a shock loss in Indiana to her challenger Bernie Sanders, who has pledged to remain in the race until the end despite an extremely steep hill to climb.