SHEFFIELD -- David Smith Jr. is back on the Board of Selectmen.

By a count of 489 to 478, the veteran town official defeated Martin Mistoff in Monday's special election to fill a vacancy on the board.

The unusually high turnout for a local special election saw 968 of 2,289 registered voters -- 42 percent -- cast ballots, with one ballot left blank, according to local election officials.

Smith replaces Ted Dobson who quit the three-member panel in mid-December, just six months into his three-year term. He cited a lack of time to fulfill his duties as a selectman.

In May, Dobson mounted a last minute write-in campaign to defeat Smith who was seeking re-election in the annual town election.

The two were at odds over a proposed Dollar General store along Route 7 in the north end of town.

Smith wasn't surprised by the narrow outcome, as the Dollar General controversy has polarized the community over the past year.

"Throughout the whole campaign ... I told people every vote counts," he said. "Nobody knows that better than me."

Smith cited his 2-vote loss during his first Sheffield selectman's race in May 2009 and a 13-vote defeat several years earlier in a run for a seat on the Great Barrington Board of Selectmen.

Mistoff was unavailable for comment Monday night on whether he might seek a recount given the 11-vote difference.

Meanwhile, Smith vowed to help Sheffield resolve the legal battle with Dollar General, saying the town has many other issues to tackle.

"It's unfortunate we've become a one-issue town," he said. "It's time to settle this and move on to other things."

To reach Dick Lindsay:
rlindsay@berkshireeagle.com,
or (413) 496-6233