GOP Presidential Candidates' Spouses: Anita Perry, Gloria Cain & More (Photos)

See photos of Ann Romney, Gloria Cain, Marcus Bachmann, and other spouses of GOP presidential candidates. By Allison Yarrow.

Getty Images (2) ; AP Photo (2)

Getty Images (2) ; AP Photo (2)

by Allison Yarrow

Who are the seven wives and one husband behind the Republican 2012 hopefuls? Anita Perry, Mary Kaye Huntsman, and Ann Romney have loudly supported their husbands’ candidacies. Karen Garver Santorum is a bestselling author. Callista Gingrich and Marcus Bachmann have been controversial in their own right, while Gloria Cain and Carol Paul have been hardly visible. As the GOP race gets tighter and frontrunners emerge, see photos of the candidates’ helpmates.

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Anita Perry

The first lady of Texas has been a fiery figure in that state, and is now taking on her husband’s detractors on a national stage. Anita Perry is a career woman with a degree in nursing, and she has raised major funds for a Texas-based organization fighting sexual violence against women. She has worked with the group since 2003. Perry was criticized recently by a Texas newspaper that reported that the majority of her salary at the Texas Association Against Sexual Assault came from contributions by her husband’s political donors and business allies. She spoke out recently against media criticisms of her husband that she believes are based on his faith—the Perrys are evangelical Christians. Anita and Rick Perry married in 1982 after courting on and off for 15 years.

David Goldman / AP Photo

Gloria Cain

Gloria Cain has been described by friends and neighbors as a passionate Christian and a capable soul food cook, but she has been largely absent from the campaign trail. Herman Cain claims that having his wife at home is a strategic part of his atypical campaign. The Cains met attending college in Atlanta, have been married 43 years, and have two children. Gloria had a pacemaker implanted in 2005 to regulate a heart condition, according to Cain’s book, This Is Herman Cain! My Journey to the White House. The Cain campaign promises an exclusive interview soon with the wife of the “Anti-Obama.”

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Ann Romney

Perhaps it’s because she’s been there before; or maybe it’s her “she-lion” disposition. No matter the reason, Ann Romney is likely the most out-front political wife this campaign season. The media have focused on her humanizing effect on her at-times gruff husband. Perhaps she reminds voters of Mitt’s warm, cuddly family-man side—even after her recent gaffe that it would be a “stupid mistake” not to vote for him. Mitt and Ann met at Brigham Young University, married in the Mormon Salt Lake Temple, and had their first of five sons before finishing their undergraduate degrees. As Massachusetts’s first lady, Ann championed preventive efforts in teen pregnancy and raised awareness about multiple sclerosis, a disease she suffers from.

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Mary Kaye Huntsman

Jon and Mary Kaye Huntsman are another pair of high school sweethearts and Mormons. The former Utah first lady often has traveled at her campaigning husband’s side, from his presidential-bid announcement in Liberty State Park, to the Chabad-Lubavitcher Rebbe’s final resting place in Queens. Youth advocacy is Mary Kaye’s forte, but her political acumen has been widely noted. Born in Orlando, Florida, she moved with her family to Salt Lake City, where she met Jon. They have three daughters. Mary Kaye also campaigned against cigarette advertising in China after losing her sister to lung cancer. There may be a political future for this outspoken woman.

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Karen Garver Santorum

Author, lawyer, and former neonatal nurse, Karen Garver Santorum is most famous for her book, Letters To Gabriel, in which she penned tender missives to her premature son, who died just hours after birth, and whose body she slept with overnight before the burial. This tragedy has been magnified given the Santorums’ hard-line, pro-life stance. Hailing from a large Catholic family, Karen met her husband, former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum, while interviewing for internships at law firms. This election is about “going on to the battlefield and defending God’s truth in the world,” she told the Christian Broadcasting Network.

Jae C. Hong / AP Photo

Callista Gingrich

She is Mrs. Gingrich the third, and was Newt’s mistress when he was House Speaker and during the Clinton-Lewinsky scandal. They were married after he stepped down. Callista Gingrich has been a controversial figure in the media. Her spending on luxuries from Tiffany’s and an ill-timed trip to Greece amidst a weak economy made her a target. She is a businesswoman who runs a production company and a foundation, both called Gingrich. She and her enterprises invoke God in America and support music—subjects dear to the couple. Callista even plays the French horn. Her patriotic children’s book, Sweet Land of Liberty, topped Amazon’s sales charts the week it was released.

Charlie Riedel / AP Photo

Marcus Bachmann

Marcus Bachmann, the lone husband in the bunch, has been scrutinized for running a counseling business accused of implementing so-called gay reparative therapy. He was widely profiled after Dan Savage insinuated in his podcast that Bachmann himself might be gay. Marcus has lately made efforts to improve his relationship with the gay community. Women everywhere cringed when Michele said wives should submit to their husbands, and many in the media asked whether, if Michele were elected president, Marcus actually would be in charge. The couple met as undergraduates, are devout Christians, and have staunch pro-life views shaped in part by Michele’s own miscarriage. They fostered 23 children and cared for girls suffering from eating disorders. They are major proponents of home schooling, and have five children of their own.

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Carol Paul

She taught ballet and baton in the basement of her Detroit home. She was a medical secretary and a cake decorator. She’s the mother of five children, and grandmother of 18. Carol asked Ron Paul to escort her to her 16th birthday party, which he did, and though they went to different colleges, they reunited and married in 1957. The Pauls have been Texans since 1968 and have trumpeted themselves as the embodiment of the American dream: hard, honest labor and a vision of border protection and limited government. Carol, however, has not been a visible member of Ron’s campaign road team, and it remains to be seen whether she will be in the months ahead.