District 2 County Race

By Wes Wolfe

Florida Politics

It remains to be seen what effect Nassau County Commissioner Aaron Bell’sarrest on suspicion of driving under the influence will have on his re-election campaign. However, as the campaign entered July, Bell retained a commanding fundraising lead over challenger Hupp Huppmann.

Bell didn’t raise any money in the last part of June, though he had around $18,850 on hand at the end of the reporting period. However, he recently had a fundraiser at Story & Song Bookstore.

Huppmann, in comparison, managed to raise $7,000 in June but spent less than $1,000 of it, entering July with around $7,240 in the bank.

Bell’s vocal opposition to Riverstone Properties’ attempt to force the county into accepting 11 85-foot towers on the south end of Amelia Island, and the style that opposition took, has been a centerpiece of the campaign.

“This is in my Commission district,” Bell said at the time. “I do understand the concerns of the folks who live here. I live there. I cannot and will not support the settlement, and my vote will be for option three, where the county tells Riverstone to pound sand and see you in court.”

Bell uses it as a rallying point, while Huppmann takes it as an example of how they’re different.

“Bad development is when it’s not properly planned,” Huppmann said during a Nassau County Chamber of Commerce candidate interview series.

He noted, for instance, when parks and schools aren’t properly planned for within a new development.

“When you don’t have the public spaces, when you don’t have the infrastructure, and it’s just pieced together, I think that’s where it starts to break down,” Huppmann said. “The future of planning, in my opinion — I’m not a developer or expert — is you plan it through so you can present a package to the community and for the area.”

Bell and Huppmann face off for District 2 on Aug. 23 in an open Republican Primary.

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debbie helwig
debbie helwig(@dhelwig)
1 year ago

So Mr Huppmann doesn’t really answer the question? Or is there something missing from the quote? I guess I’ll have to start paying attention.

Janet Lynch
Janet Lynch(@janet-lynch)
1 year ago
Reply to  debbie helwig

What question are you referrring to? I see no question here. I respect and admire this man much more than the one who was driving drunk with his daughter in the car! Watch the 36 minute video on Action News Jax if you have any doubts. Couldn’t even recite the alphabet. Both officers smelled alcohol on his breath. He’s going to lose his license if he hasn’t already for refusing to take a breathalizer. I like that Hupp is running on his own merits and is taking the high road by not bringing up the DUI.

Margo Story
Margo Story (@guest_65779)
1 year ago

Just remember, Huppman doesn’t live on the island…..answer to the question.

Joann Fullwood
Joann Fullwood (@guest_65780)
1 year ago
Reply to  Margo Story

Hup Huppman does not have to live on the Island. He is required to live in his District. District 2 encompasses areas off the Island.

1 year ago
Reply to  Joann Fullwood

There seems then a fundamental conflict of interest in just how one views projects of this magnitude. Changing horses in mid stream doesn’t sound like a good idea- unless one wants to let the developer have at it.

Margo Story
Margo Story (@guest_65844)
1 year ago
Reply to  Joann Fullwood

And neither do you….. the opposition to Riverstone building 11 85 ft. towers on the southern end of the island is what we are objecting to with concern.

Bill Fold
Bill Fold(@bill-fold)
1 year ago

Hupp has my vote. Bell is a local example of the same kind of vermin in Washington DC. They think they are above the law or that laws don’t apply to them. It doesn’t matter where Hupp lives. He loves Nassau County and the people of Nassau County and he will do what is best for both. He has served his country well and he will serve us well.

1 year ago

“The question” is unspoken in the article, but the one on everybody’s mind on the island is “How would Hupp have voted on Riverstone?”

Bell’s answer is clear and backed by a determinative vote. Hupp hasn’t taken a stand yet on that issue. After elections, if there is a change in the Board, will Riverstone resurface?