A writer at Redstate, using the pen name Sister Toldjah, details the extra-marital affair between current Senator Kamala Harris, who is running for president, and former San Francisco mayor and California State Assembly Speaker Willie Brown. Harris calls Brown “albatross hanging around my neck.” Brown claims that the affair helped Harris’ political career. It is hard to predict how that fact will play out in a Democrat Primary that will surely be dominated by the spirit of the recent #METOO movement. Toldjah writes (abridged):
Brown did indeed date Harris – who is 30 years younger than him – for a period of time between 1995 and early 1996, and yes – he “influenced” her career in a big way:
In 1995, she began dating Brown, then Assembly speaker and one of the most powerful men in California politics. Brown put Harris on the state Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board and the California Medical Assistance Commission, part-time posts that supplemented her prosecutor’s salary with nearly $100,000 in extra annual pay.
The December night Brown was elected mayor, Harris joined him at center stage in a longshoremen’s union hall and gave him a blue cap that said, “Da Mayor.”
One thing not mentioned in most pieces you’ll read on Brown’s dating relationship with Harris is that Brown was (and is still) married at the time (and has been since 1958, to Blanche Vitero, though they are have reportedly been estranged since 1981). And Harris and Brown remained political allies even after they split up shortly after his 1996 mayoral inauguration, according to the LA Times.
It’s interesting to see Brown downplay their history, as if to suggest it was no big deal to give his mistress at the time two cushy appointments and a 1994 BMW, and introductions to valuable political players. And his mention of how he also helped Pelosi, Newsom, and Feinstein was peculiar when you consider that, unlike Harris, none of them had had an affair with him.
Harris, for what it’s worth, detests when the subject is brought up, as she made clear in this 2003 interview with SF Weekly:
She acknowledges that Brown is an “albatross hanging around my neck” and fears that voters who dislike him will ignore her candidacy — even as she dismisses such an act as irrational. “Would it make sense if you are a Martian coming to Earth that the litmus test for public office is where a candidate is in their relationship to Willie Brown?” Harris asks. “Willie Brown is not going to be around. He’s gone — hello people, move on. If there is corruption, it will be prosecuted. It’s a no-brainer, but let’s please move on.”
Unfortunately for Harris, he’s not gone, and the man widely regarded as a kingmaker in California Democratic party politics decided to talk about her least favorite topic on the eve of her first presidential campaign rally.
Though the affair has long been a well-known fact in California, it did not hurt her state political ambitions in later years. However, Harris is now introducing herself to America on a national stage, and it remains to be seen as to whether Democratic primary voters in other states will hold her affair with Brown and allegations of cronyism against her.
Read more here.