Sen. Toni Harp captured nearly 50 percent of the vote in the four-way Democratic mayoral primary Tuesday night, a major hurdle in her bid to become the city’s first female mayor, according to results posted by the New Haven Independent.

Her three opponents already have qualified for the November ballot as petitioning candidates, but it was not immediately clear how many would continue, given Harp’s strong showing. The fourth-place finisher, Kermit Carolina, said his campaign was over.

Harp, the co-chair of the General Assembly’s Appropriations Committee, was one of two high-profile mayoral candidates locked in nomination battles who were endorsed by Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, the Democrat gearing up for his own re-election in 2014.

The other was Rep. William Tong, who was seeking the Democratic nomination in Stamford, where Malloy was mayor for 14 years. Tong conceded to the convention-endorsed candidate, David Martin, according to the Stamford Advocate.

Malloy campaigned in New Haven for Harp on Tuesday, producing a brief street drama as Carolina confronted him outside a polling place over the governor’s decision to involve himself in the intra-party battle.

Carolina asked if Malloy made the endorsement in his own political interest.

The governor’s slim margin of victory in 2010 required a tremendous vote by Democrats in New Haven.

He was asked if he deemed it important to have a friend in the mayor’s office in 2014.

“What I think is important is an effective mayor in the mayor’s office,” Malloy said.

Mark is the Capitol Bureau Chief and a co-founder of CT Mirror. He is a frequent contributor to WNPR, a former state politics writer for The Hartford Courant and Journal Inquirer, and contributor for The New York Times.

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