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Caban and Crow, each carrying controversies, are making their final pitches to Leon County District 2 voters

A man in a dark suit and light shirt sit next to a woman in light blue. They are talking to one another.
Lydell Rawls
WFSU Public Media
Christian Caban (left) and Hannah Crow (right) discuss development, housing and land use in a general election forum at the WFSU Public Media TV studio.

When County Commissioner Jimbo Jackson died earlier this year due to complications from COVID-19, his Southwest Leon County district seat became an open race. In the general election, local public relations consultant Hannah Crow and businessman Christian Caban are vying for the seat. They're both trying to prove to voters why they’re fit to serve a district that encompasses one of the lowest-income zip codes in the state.

Crow apologized early on in the race for liking and sharing posts by conservative activists like Tomi Loren, Charlie Kirk and Candace Owens that were critical of shutdown efforts to control the spread of COVID-19. Among the posts liked by Crow, one from Kirk in November 2020 that read “Lockdown orders should be ignored. All businesses schools and churches should immediately open. It’s time for the largest act of civil disobedience in American history.”

Crow says she’s grown since then.

“I was the individual in my community working alongside Leon County holding vaccination clinics,” she said during a forum hosted by WFSU, the Tallahassee Democrat and the local chapter of the League of Women Voters of Florida.

“I learned in this process and I was on the ground helping individuals and ensuring everybody had the resources they need. That’s what I learned. That we are allowed to learn and grow in that process.”

Local businessman Christian Caban is also going for the seat. And he’s had his own social media faux pas. He cut ties during the primary cycle with a campaign consultant who shared a racist video of the President’s press secretary wearing clown makeup. Crowe pushed Caban on why he changed his party identification from Republican to Democrat—and highlighted campaign contributions that come from outside the district. Caban says his views no longer aligned with his former party:

“My party affiliation was changed on its own. And I think this race comes down to two different opponents; one who changed their party affiliation because they didn’t like the way the party was going, versus another who was endorsing far-right extremist tweets around the same time. In regard to campaign funds, I plan to represent not just district two, but the entire county,” Caban said before being interrupted by Crow.

Personal sparring aside, the two are primarily aligned on issues of affordable housing, addressing the city’s gun violence, and citing Amazon as an example of good business growth. But they digress on one point—whether the county should make it easier to change land use codes.

“If we see there’s opportunity to be had and there’s developers and we need affordable housing, we need to figure out how to move the needle quicker. But I will in the same breath say…we want to preserve and enhance appropriately. It’s smart, strategic growth—honoring who we are, and where we live,” she said.

“I disagree with my opponent,” said Caban. “What she’s saying is contrary because, If you want to preserve a community, it shouldn’t be easier to change code.”

The District 2 race is one of several county commission seats to be decided this Fall.

Follow @HatterLynn

Lynn Hatter is a Florida A&M University graduate with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. Lynn has served as reporter/producer for WFSU since 2007 with education and health care issues as her key coverage areas.  She is an award-winning member of the Capital Press Corps and has participated in the NPR Kaiser Health News Reporting Partnership and NPR Education Initiative. 

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