The court ruled Tuesday against a challenge from former Mayor Kevin Burke, who argued that Bennett was barred from being a political candidate because he worked at a mental health agency that received federal funding for its Head Start program.
Bennett won the 2007 election over Burke by 110 votes out of some 12,000 cast, after which Burke challenged Bennett's eligibility under the federal Hatch Act.
A Vigo County judge allowed Bennett to take office. But the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled last fall that Bennett was not eligible and ordered that a new mayoral election should be held.
But the high court sided with Bennett, saying Burke had waited too long to file his complaint.
Because he waited until the election was over, Burke could not challenge Bennett's candidacy but only his ability to take office, the ruling said. And when Bennett took office, he no longer was working at the mental health agency that received federal funds, Justice Brent E. Dickson wrote in the six-page ruling.