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Florida a mecca for big-time Republican stars

After a decade as governor of Arkansas, Mike Huckabee felt pressure to get lost. "People want you to go away, to leave the stage," he said. So he moved to Florida, building a $3 million beachfront home in the Panhandle. Huckabee's morning commute entails rolling out of bed to an in-home studio to host his popular conservative radio show. "The opportunity to live here has just been fantastic," he said. Welcome to the club. Florida may be a swing state but it is also a mecca for boldface name Republicans. Limbaugh, Drudge, Dobbs, Coulter, Hannity, Rove. Some, like Rush Limbaugh, who moved to Palm Beach in 1996, are full-time residents; others, such as Sean Hannity, who recently picked up a luxury penthouse in Naples, pop down when they need to relax. Matt Drudge (full time) enjoys the Miami area so much he owns two properties. Most of the GOP stars are concentrated in South Florida, cutting into the region's reputation as a haven for wealthy Democrats. Huckabee, who will speak at the Republican National Convention in Tampa this week, holds down the north. "This part of Florida is God, guns, grits and gravy," he said. It's also presumably easier on his bottom line; Florida does not have a state income tax, though Huckabee said that was not a main factor in his decision. "The key is this is a beautiful place to live," Huckabee said. "Growing up, I never thought I'd be able to see the ocean."

Mike Huckabee

The former Arkansas governor and 2008 presidential candidate began building a $3 million home in Walton County in late 2010. The home sports 8,224 square feet of living space and 2,969 square feet of porch and deck space.

Ann Coulter

The pundit and author bought a home in Palm Beach in 2005 for $1.8 million. After she received threats, her address is now restricted on the property appraiser website.

Matt Drudge

The pioneering Internet news aggregator has a home on Miami Beach and in 2011 bought a 6,400-square-foot home in south Miami for $1.4 million.

Lou Dobbs

The Fox Business Network host has a place in the exclusive Ibis Golf & Country Club in West Palm Beach.

Sean Hannity

The Fox News host has a condo in Moraya Bay, a luxury development in Naples.

Rush Limbaugh

The king of conservative talk radio lives on a Palm Beach estate valued at $35 million. His 2011 tax bill: $482,691.

David Koch

The billionaire industrialist who is a major campaign contributor has a $27 million, 30,000-square-foot home in Palm Beach. After liberal activists showed up with videocameras, he put up camouflage netting around the home but was forced to take it down.

Donald Trump

The real estate mogul who flirted with running for president in 2012 owns Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach.

Dick Morris

The Fox News pundit paid $425,000 in 2005 for a condo in Delray Beach.

Christopher Ruddy

The founder of the conservative magazine Newsmax lives in West Palm Beach.

Karl Rove

He and his wife have a vacation home in Rosemary Beach, a self-styled "neo-traditional town" in Walton County.

Rudy Giuliani

The 2008 presidential contender bought a 2,000-square-foot condo in Palm Beach in 2010 for $1.4 million after owning a nearby apartment.

Florida a mecca for big-time Republican stars 08/25/12 [Last modified: Saturday, August 25, 2012 6:39pm]
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