Who is Willie Brown and how is he connected to Kamala Harris?

SAN Francisco’s former Mayor, Willie Brown reportedly had an affair with Vice Presidential candidate Kamala Harris when she was in her late 20’s.

Brown, who was 60 years old at the time met Harris in 1993 when he was a lawyer and civil rights leader in California. 

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Who is Willie Brown?

Willie Brown Jr., 86, was San Francisco’s first black mayor from 1996 through 2004. 

He also served over 30 years in the California State Assembly, spending 15 years as its speaker.

Brown was restricted to run a third term in office as the mayor of San Francisco and was succeeded by Gavin Newsom.

His tenure in the city was known for an increase in real estate development, public works, city beautification and economic expansion. 

How is he connected to Kamala Harris?

Brown — who was 60 years old at the time — met Kamala Harris in 1993 when he was working at the California State Assembly.

Harris was starting her career as a prosecutor at 29 years old and working in the Alameda County District Attorney's Office.

The two were frequently spotted together and Brown even offered her a job at the California Medical Assistance Commission as an attorney. 

Brown also appointed Harris to the state's Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board, a lucrative position worth a further $97,088 a year, according to an article by the Los Angeles Times in 1994.

Did they reportedly have an affair?

Brown was married to Blanche Vitero in 1958 but the two separated in 1982.

He grew closer to Harris and they reportedly had an affair a year into his separation from Vitero, according to the Daily Mail. 

Vitero and Brown never divorced and still remained married despite him going on to have a baby with his chief fundraiser Carolyn Carpenti in 2001. 

When Harris announced her failed presidential bid in January 2019 he penned a column for the San Francisco Chronicle entitled: “Sure, I dated Kamala Harris, So what?”

“I've been peppered with calls from the national media about my 'relationship' with Kamala Harris, particularly since it became obvious that she was going to run for president. Most of them, I have not returned,” wrote Brown.

“Yes, we dated. It was more than 20 years ago. Yes, I may have influenced her career by appointing her to two state commissions when I was Assembly speaker.

He continued: “And I certainly helped with her first race for district attorney in San Francisco. I have also helped the careers of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Gov. Gavin Newsom, Sen. Dianne Feinstein and a host of other politicians.

“The difference is that Harris is the only one who, after I helped her, sent word that I would be indicted if I 'so much as jaywalked' while she was D.A. That's politics for ya,” he added.

What did Kamala Harris say?

Harris claimed she refused to model her presidential campaign run to criticize Brown, although she did not address affair rumors. 

“I refuse to design my campaign around criticizing Willie Brown,” she told SF Weekly.

“I have no doubt that I am independent of him – and that he would probably right now express some fright about the fact that he cannot control me.

“His career is over. I will be alive and kicking for the next 40 years. I do not owe him a thing.”

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