Joseph Cress/Iowa City Press-Citizen

Former Mayor Willie Brown Talks About Dating Kamala Harris

'It Was Really A Great Friendship'

KCBS Radio Morning News
February 01, 2019 - 10:47 am

Former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown described his past romantic relationship with Sen. Kamala Harris "as a real love affair" and a "great friendship" that lasted two to three years. 

In his regular weekly appearance on KCBS Radio, Brown, a former speaker of the state assembly, revealed details about dating Harris when he was campaigning to become San Francisco's mayor and she was an up-and-coming prosecutor in the Alameda County district attorney's office. 

"It was fairly public for an extended period of time," said Brown. "It was wonderful." 

At the time, in 1995, Brown was trying to unseat incumbent Mayor Frank Jordan. 

"It was a really great friendship. She really was instrumental in keeping me focused on the mayor's race," said Brown, who went on to defeat Jordan. "After you campaign all day against an incumbent mayor, you really needed to have someone you could hang with, and she was it." 

The couple went out to dinner every night, Brown said, often eating in North Beach. 

"She was really bright and able and decisive and really motivated me to do the job," he said to KCBS Radio anchors Susan Leigh Taylor and Stan Bunger and journalist Phil Matier. 

Brown joked, however, that he was not as committed to the relationship. 

"It was a real love affair," he said. "I loved me and she loved me." 

Their relationship has come under scrutiny since Harris announced that she's seeking the Democratic party's nomination for president in 2020.

In a recent San Francisco Chronicle column, Brown acknowledged that he appointed Harris to two state commissions, a move that some say helped launch her political career. She won the 2003 election to become San Francisco's district attorney. 

Brown, 84, said that he was uncomfortable being 30 years older than Harris when they dated. 

"She was much too young," he said. "Even I had a problem with age in that world."

In the end, Brown wished her well. 

"I'm glad she has a great husband. She has prospered like you wouldn't believe," said Brown. "I hope she becomes the president, and I will move to another country."