The 2012 presidential campaign officially kicked off this week with Tuesday’s Iowa caucuses, the country’s first glimpse into which Republican hopeful will challenge President Barack Obama in November.
While hundreds of political reporters and pundits will be obsessing over the platforms and political machinations of the candidates, we’re attempting to glean some insight into the personalities of these contenders with a more personal approach: a glimpse into their family homes.
Location: Lake Winnipesaukee, N.H.
Price tag: $10 million
As one of the richest candidates in the running, Mitt Romney can afford more than one home. In fact, he’s owned four in the last few years, including a $12 million beachfront property in La Jolla, Calif.
Romney recently sold two of his properties, including one located in Park City, Utah. Resembling a ski chalet, the $5.25 million house features tree trunk beams overhead and exposed stone walls. Speaking of stones, the home also features a jacuzzi embedded into a garish jumble of well worn boulders. It’s a style that the New York Times likened to “Ralph Lauren of the ’80s, heavy on animal hides and Navajo patterns.”
The Romneys’ current home, estimated to be worth $10 million, is of a more restrained design — a stone cottage located on Lake Winnipesaukee in New Hampshire. With a stately exterior and a bright, clean-cut interior design, it’s the sort of home one could imagine baking apple pies in. Of course, the Romneys probably don't have much time for baking pies right now.
Location: Penn Hills, PA (sort of) and Great Falls, VA
Price tag: $2,000,000
The debate about Rick Santorum's place of residency seems to be more interesting than his sprawling Great Falls, VA colonial. Still, Great Falls seems like an appropriate place for a Republican presidential candidate to call home — CNN Money ranked Great Falls as number 1 in their 2011 list of most-affluent towns.
Location: Lake Jackson, Texas
Price tag: $325,000
Ron Paul rose from obscurity in 2007 when his campaign was able to raise a stunning $4 million in 24 hours, a feat he achieved through a savvy web campaign that attached tens of thousands of small donors. More recently Paul has tried to use some of that web savvy to sell his home in a down market. Last year he set up BuyRonPaulsHouse.com, a site dedicated to finding a buyer for his 5,500 square foot home in Lake Jackson, Texas. Love him or hate him, Paul is not the type of guy to put on airs, and his quaint Texas home located 50 miles outside of Houston, seems to suit his no-nonsense attitude. The four bedroom home features two lofts, a pool and five bathrooms.
Whether you’re in the market for modest, middle-class home with brick exterior walls and shingle roofing in the Houston area, or an invaluable piece of campaign memorabilia, the Paul home seems like a great deal. “A great house and a great piece of history” the website says. “The same home-office Dr. Paul used for 42 years. Generations of liberty loving kids have grown up here, and you can continue the tradition.” All that for only $325,000? I’d say that sounds as valuable as placing fifth in the Iowa caucuses.