The election was scheduled to take place sixty days after Sukhumbhand resigned on 9 January 2013, his second-to-last day of office. (Resignation, as opposed to completion of the term, effectively extended the election deadline for another fifteen days.) The Election Commission accepted registrations on 21–25 January, although unofficial campaigning had begun earlier.
The election was viewed as a sharp contest between the Democrat Party, whose candidates had held the governorship since 2004, and the Pheu Thai Party, which lead the current national government. While Bangkok is regarded as a traditional stronghold of the Democrat Party, Sukhumbhand faced low public approval ratings. Prior to endorsing Sukhumbhand, the party faced internal controversy over the candidacy. Sukhumbhand's first-term performance was generally viewed as poor, a fact some have attributed to partisan conflicts between the city and national governments. The Pheu Thai Party picked up on this dissatisfaction and campaigned on "seamless coordination" between the governments. Its candidate Pongsapat previously served as spokesman of the Royal Thai Police.
The highlight of the election was also other candidates who ran independently, including:
Police General Seripisut Temiyavet, former Commissioner-General of the Royal Thai Police and anti-corruption activist;
Thoranee Rittheethamrong, an exorcist who revealed that she applied for candidacy "because of the Heaven's mandate" by which she has been directed to "liberate Bangkok from the authority of the Ministry of Interior and transfer this authority to its citizens";