Lee said he knew he had to sell his home if elected because he went from a salary of several hundred thousand dollars a year to the Senate payroll of $174,500. But he thought improvements to the home and a rebound in housing prices would help. Failing that, he was owed a large sum, he says, from Howrey that could provide a “cushion.”

But then a neighbor’s home went through a short sale, dropping home values on the street, and Howrey filed for bankruptcy, leaving Lee with little option other than to persuade the bank to take a loss.

“It pains me that those were the circumstances, but they were,” Lee said.