SNELLVILLE - A last-minute qualification challenge wasn't enough to stop Robert Jenkins from returning to the Snellville City Council.
Incumbent Mike Smith and newcomer Barbara Bender also won Tuesday's election after a sparse turnout at the polls.
Smith, who took the most votes Tuesday, said the results defied people's attempts to put the candidates into Old Guard vs. New Guard slates.
"At this point the Snellville voters don't buy into that anymore," Smith said. "They picked the best ones for the job."
Jenkins sailed past former Planning and Zoning Commissioner Garry Lapides by a vote of 744 to 594 despite recent controversies.
On Friday, Jenkins appeared before the Gwinnett County Board of Registrations and Elections after a political foe challenged his qualifications to vote. The board ruled in Jenkins' favor.
The city had previously found that the challenge to his qualification for office wasn't valid because Joe Anderson, the former councilman who filed the complaint, no longer lived in the city and missed the filing deadline.
But officials said the information, including Jenkins' divorce papers, were stuffed inside citizens' mailboxes overnight Monday.
"I think it probably helped me. I think the voters did not appreciate the malicious attack. I think it backfired," Jenkins said. "I'm glad the voters got to vote for who they wanted, and they wanted me."
Bender, a local accountant, won the Post 4 seat, open after Warren Auld resigned to run in a special election for the state House of Representatives.
She beat Suzanne Krieger by a vote of 808 to 570.
Bender had support from both factions of city politics, and her name was considered for the post when Auld resigned.
"I didn't consider myself with any side," Bender said. "I wanted to bring people together, and I think I achieved that."
Bender said her race was clean, and she's looking forward to being sworn in Monday.
Snellville's longest serving current councilman will serve on.
Mike Smith, on the council for four years, won a second term by a vote of 819 to 528 over Teri Dippel.
Since he and the city's mayor were the only current politicians in office when the city's land use plans were mapped out, Smith said he wants to get the newcomers' input.
"I'm glad I have another opportunity to keep doing what we've started over the past four years," Smith said.