It's never too soon to start planning for that City Council, College Board or special district campaign coming up in November. You'll want to get endorsements and donation pledges from community members and thought leaders soon so when you file you'll hit the ground running, with a head start on the competition. Are there big issues coming up? Write an op-ed or two in the local paper on the subject. Differentiate yourself from the incumbent or other opinions that will be represented. And face it, you feel differently, or you wouldn't be running. If everything is hunky dory, just let the incumbents do their job.
If there's an empty seat, get an idea who the early competition is likely to be. They may start coming out of the woodwork as the August filing deadline nears. Make sure your friends and family are on board early. No surprises for the spouse! And assess how much you can personally contribute to the campaign effort in terms of money and time. If you invest in yourself, others will be more likely to take your seriously and invest as well. Can you take time off work as the crucial fall time for walking precincts, making phone calls, filling out questionnaires and attending coffees and debates approaches? Plan for it now.
Look at past election results for how the vote tends to break down, and check the past online filings for how much others have spent in your race. Are there people who gave to others who you know and can approach for your campaign? Do it now. All they can say is no, right? And you'll have some good practice "asks" under your belt when fundraising gets hot and heavy.
Find out who the local consultants are who have done races like yours and interview a few. Lock up the one you feel most comfortable with early. Getting advice now from a seasoned professional is invaluable. Good luck with your campaign! You are well on the way to a successful race!