By Wes Wolfe, Florida Politics
Huppmann took 62.6% of the vote while Bell claimed close to 37.4% in the open Republican Primary. Huppmann won across the board, taking majorities in mail-in, early votes and Election Day totals. He also won every precinct in the district, with the closest tally being a 47-vote victory at the Bryceville Community Center precinct.
The campaign began with Bell sticking his neck out on opposing the Riverstone Properties 85-foot towers proposal, which opened up the county to continued Bert Harris Act litigation. The vote carried 3-2 and was the first salient issue of the campaign. Huppmann drew a distinction with Bell’s combative posture when he launched his own campaign.
Huppmann’s a previous general manager of The Palace Saloon, owns and operates entertainment services company HUPP LLC, and was a part of the Foar From Home cross-ocean rowing effort raising money to combat veteran suicide.
The Riverstone debate helped drive conversation on the race until Bell’s arrest on suspicion of driving under the influence in June. He waived arraignment and pleaded not guilty in an Aug. 18 court hearing.
While hinted at throughout the rest of the campaign, the DUI charge didn’t make a full-force appearance until an anonymous PAC out of Tallahassee launched a negative website devoted to the subject.
The intervention of independent political action committees into the race, like their involvement in another County Commission campaign, led to a back-and-forth in public over who’s really backing which campaign and why. Huppmann is pursuing action with the Nassau County Supervisor of Elections regarding the controversy.
Huppman benefited from at least two positive mail pieces — one from the Nassau County firefighters union, and one from a local political committee.
District 2 covers the south end of Amelia Island and the southeast portion of the eastern mainland of Nassau County.