Published: 28 January 2012 06:31 PM

The Riverside mayor’s race could now be a six-way contest, with a little more than a month left until the candidate filing deadline.

The latest entrant is Peter Benavidez, a local nonprofit CEO and member of the city’s charter review committee, who recently took out a petition for signatures in lieu of the filing fee.

Benavidez may ultimately square off against former Councilman Ed Adkison, who opened a campaign in early 2010; Councilmen Mike Gardner, Andy Melendrez and William “Rusty” Bailey; and teacher Dvonne Pitruzzello, who ran against Gardner and two other candidates for the Ward 1 council seat last June.

The contest for the mayor’s seat was expected to be lively because five-term Mayor Ron Loveridge plans to retire, leaving the seat open for the first time since 1994. Voters will choose the next mayor June 5, or if no one wins outright, in a November runoff.

Benavidez, 55, heads Blindness Support Services Inc., which offers programs and services to promote independence of blind and vision-impaired people; he himself is vision-impaired. He chairs the citizens’ advisory committee of the Riverside County Transportation Commission and recently served on Riverside’s charter review committee.

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