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Who knew that one recent Scottsdale real estate transaction would set in motion a bevy of rumors and innuendo that it was in fact purchased by former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin as a place of operation in her bid to run for president in 2012? But, this appears to be the case.

Last weekend, the Arizona Republic was the first to report that a large, 8,000-sq ft stucco-style Scottsdale home recently sold to “Safari Investments LLC” for $1,695,000 was likely purchased by Sarah and Todd Palin. Built like a fortress, the 4.4-acre compound is walled and gated and includes everything to assure the family’s privacy and entertainment. According to the listing, it includes “grand entry ceilings, expansive living areas, a gourmet kitchen, private home theater room, billiard/game room, walk-in wine room, and resort-style backyard with large gazebo.” Naturally, it also includes an inground pool complete with elaborate water features.

Why would Palin buy a property in Arizona? As the Republican field of candidates begins to form, Palin clearly sees an opening. A Gallup poll released today shows that former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney (17 percent) and Palin (15 percent) have emerged as the early party favorites. And, as a Republican stronghold, Arizona — the home state of her former presidential running mate Senator John McCain — is a good spot for Palin to start planning for a White House bid.

Palin’s new home is also close to her daughter, Bristol Palin, who recently snagged her own piece of Arizona real estate in Maricopa. Bristol’s new home was purchased for $172,000 in cash, significantly less than the home’s previous sold price in 2006 of $329,960. Like many parts of the country, real estate home values have taken a dive in the region; current median Maricopa home values are now $95,900.

If nothing else, it appears that Palin, and her daughter Bristol, were looking for a welcome change from the colder weather in Alaska where the Palins have a home in Wasilla, AK.

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