Former Barack Obama campaign political director Chris Lewless will officially announce his candidacy for the Fourth Ward Lansing City Council seat next Thursday.

Lewless is running for the seat that will be vacated at the end of the year by Fourth Ward Councilman Tim Kaltenbach, who has declined to run for a second term. Lewless will make his announcement at Niowave, Inc. on Walnut Street.

Since jumping into the race early — he was the first candidate to file for any of the four Council races — Lewless has been making the rounds around Lansing, putting in an appearance at the State of the City address as well as At-Large Councilwoman Carol Wood's mayoral campaign announcement. He has said he is friendly with both Mayor Virg Bernero and Wood, and is not picking a camp to support.

Lewless ran in 2006 for a seat in the Legislature after then-Rep. Michael Murphy was term-limited. Lewless had a good amount of support, but lost in the primary to eventual winner Joan Bauer. Bauer went on to win the seat handily in what is a strongly Democratic district.

Also expected to announce this weekend is Rina Risper, publisher of the New Citizens Press, a local newspaper. Risper will be running in the At-Large race where Council members Kathie Dunbar and Brian Jeffries are up for re-election. Risper has billed herself as an advocate for the homeless, survivors of violence, and women and children. She'll kick off her campaign at Sir Pizza in Old Town at 1 p.m., March 14.

Risper was also spotted at Wood's announcement, and said she is running a "new economy" campaign with two campaign managers who are both mothers. She's also said she wants to focus on health issues and avoid negative campaigning.