Municipal elections in California are officially non-partisan, though some candidates do receive funding and support from various political parties. The non-partisan primary was held June 7, 1988. Since the incumbent O'Connor received a majority of the primary votes, she was reelected outright with no need for a runoff.
Incumbent mayor Maureen O'Connor was seen as the favorite going into the election. Former City Council member Floyd Morrow was considered her chief challenger, though he consistently polled well short of O'Connor. Morrow struggled to gain attention in the race, with O'Connor refusing to attend candidate forums where he might appear. On June 7, 1988, O'Connor received the majority of the votes and was re-elected mayor.