Allegheny County Commissioner Tom Foerster, a powerful party leader, won the Democratic Primary. He was victorious in a contentious battle over city Controller Frank Luccino and fellow city Councilman Jim Sims.
Caliguiri had originally planned not to seek reelection, but a personal clash with Foerster over environmental issues and mass transit funding led to Caliguiri reentering the race; because the filing deadline for the primary had already passed, the Democrat was forced to run as an independent. With Republican attorney Joe Cosetti a nonfactor in the heavily Democratic city, Caliguiri emerged victorious in a highly contested race between two fixtures of area politics. A total of 143,967 votes were cast.