Justin Sullivan / Getty Images
Mitt Romney walks to an awaiting car after walking off of his campaign plane at McCarran International Airport on May 29, 2012 in Las Vegas.
Updated 9:45 p.m. ET -- Mitt Romney won the Republican primary in Texas on Tuesday, a victory that gives him more than the 1,144 delegates needed to secure his party's presidential nomination.
Following a bruising primary season earlier this year that extended longer than many Republicans had hoped, NBC News projected that Romney had finally won the necessary delegates to secure the nomination, though the former Massachusetts governor won’t earn the official nod until August's Republican National Convention in Tampa.
The race for the Republican nomination has been largely over since the April 3 primary in Wisconsin. Romney's win in that contest prompted the eventual withdrawals of his remaining rivals: Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich, and Ron Paul. It also hastened the onset of President Barack Obama's own re-election offensive versus Romney.
"I am honored that Americans across the country have given their support to my candidacy and I am humbled to have won enough delegates to become the Republican Party's 2012 presidential nominee," Romney said in a statement Tuesday evening. "Our party has come together with the goal of putting the failures of the last three and a half years behind us."
Romney spent the evening at a closed-doors fundraiser in Las Vegas with Gingrich and reality television star Donald Trump.
While conservatives appear to have rallied behind the former Massachusetts governor, the long campaign season was not without its consequences for Romney.
The Republican has been fundraising aggressively to make up for money spent during the nomination battle, which depleted, in part, his relative financial parity versus Obama.
Appearing at a campaign event is Las Vegas, GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney tells supporters that he will focus on putting Americans back to work if he is elected president.
But more significantly, the Obama campaign has been turning some of the most stinging attacks on Romney from other Republicans and revived them for use in the general election.
"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 said in his victory statement. "On November 6, I am confident that we will unite as a country and begin the hard work of fulfilling the American promise and restoring our country to greatness.”
Case-in-point: the Obama campaign has spent much of the past two weeks attacking Romney's experience at Bain Capital, the private equity firm Romney had co-founded. That is a line of attack first advanced by Gingrich and Texas Gov. Rick Perry in January.
Romney's continued advantage versus Obama, though, lies with an economic recovery that still rests on precarious footing.
May's NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll found that half of Americans judged last month's jobs report as unsatisfactory. That dampened optimism for a recovery -- and, in turn, for Obama -- could become a potent political weapon for Romney, especially if continued economic unrest in Europe slows the pace of the recovery in the U.S.