I looked back a few elections and found some interesting stats in relation to getting elected to city council in Victoria.
In the three elections of 1999, 2002 and 2005 we had 18 incumbents run for re-election, six per election. Only twice did an incumbent lose and both times the incumbent came ninth missing out by less than 100 votes. What this means for the 2008 election is that odds are against any of the incumbents losing. New people are running for the three seats that currently open - this is the highest number in a number of elections.
On average you need to get around 5% of the votes cast to be elected. This percentage goes up when there are less candidates for office, in 2002 you needed 6.07% to get elected when there were only 24 candidates.
Candidates need to aim for at least 5000 votes to have a chance of getting elected - I expect the last candidate to get elected to have received 5700 votes. If you have 50 friends and family working on your campaign, you need to have them and yourself approach about 10 000 people to have a reasonable chance to get elected. This means in the month before the election you need to contact 300 to 350 people a day.
Each candidate also needs to remember that the voters can choose up to 8 candidates on the ballot. On average people cast 6.3 votes in Victoria. For each vote a candidate gets, 5.3 votes are going to their competition. Most of these votes will be going to the well known names, I would estimate that for each vote a new candidate gets about 3 votes will go towards the well known, an average in past elections of about 1/2 a vote each. This electoral math is an uphill battle for new candidates and the major reason incumbents rarely lose.
Smart candidates will get their closest friends and family to plump their ballots - only vote for one person, but as someone that has run for local council before, almost no one other than political junkies takes kindly being told to plump their ballot
I expect there to be 18000 voters in the city of Victoria election in November, a 5% increase on last time.