The Republican nominee was Nat Hyman, a jeweler and real estate developer. Hyman was the first Republican candidate to make an Allentown mayoral election competitive in a decade. Common Sense Independent Party candidate John Richard Ingram, also a real estate developer, and Solomon Tembo, the candidate of the King Solomon Tembo party, were also on the ballot.Ray O'Connell, the president of the Allentown City Council, also ran as a write-in candidate. O'Connell; Siobhan "Sam" Bennett, a bed and breakfast owner; Lehigh County Commissioner David Jones; Joshua Siegel; Charlie Thiel, a member of the Allentown school board; and Nathan Woodring also sought the Democratic Party nomination. Luiz Garcia also sought the Republican nomination.
No debates were held during the election; instead the candidates engaged in retail politics. Pawlowski worked to increase turnout among Allentown's Hispanic and Syrian populations.
In July 2017 Pawlowski was the subject of a 54-count indictment that alleged that he conspired to provide municipal contracts in return for campaign contributions, dinners and tickets to sports events.