Clinton plans to end campaign on Friday: reports

US Democratic presidential candidate Senator Hillary Clinton (D-NY) looks down during her South Dakota and Montana presidential primary election night rally in New York June 3, 2008. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - New York Sen. Hillary Clinton plans to drop out of the presidential race on Friday and cede the Democratic nomination to Illinois Sen. Barack Obama, U.S. media reported on Wednesday.

Obama secured the Democratic presidential nomination on Tuesday night after a long, hard-fought primary battle with Clinton for the right to face Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona in the November 4 general election.

ABC reported that Clinton would hold an event on Friday flanked by supporters “in which we believe, all indications are she will concede the race, once and for all.”

The New York Times quoted a senior adviser as saying Democratic members of Congress urged Clinton on Wednesday to leave the race and allow the party to coalesce around Obama. It quoted an aide as saying she would likely make the announcement in New York City.

Clinton, the former first lady who entered the race 17 months ago as a heavy favorite, said on Tuesday night she would consult party leaders and supporters about her next move.

Obama, the first black candidate to lead a major U.S. party into a White House race, began the task of unifying a fractured party the day after clinching the nomination.

He faces the question of whether to name Clinton as his running mate. She has indicated interest in the job after her presidential bid fell short.

“We’re going to be having a conversation in coming weeks, and I’m very confident how unified the Democratic Party’s going to be to win in November,” Obama told reporters when asked about Clinton.

Writing by JoAnne Allen; Editing by Peter Cooney