U.S. Vice President-elect, Kamala Harris, meant many firsts for this California Senator being the first Black American, first woman, and first South Asian descent person elected to the position. As Harris makes history, her husband, Doug Emhoff, also breaks a new ground being the nation’s first “second gentleman” and first Jewish person married to a vice president.
With both aging 56 married in 2014, Harris and Emhoff are also the first mixed-race couple to occupy their positions – with Harris as the daughter of Indian and Jamaican immigrants and Emhoff as a white.
The spouses of U.S. presidents and vice presidents traditionally must forge a careful balance of support and independence. Meanwhile, Emhoff was a “secret weapon” to Harris’ campaign trail, having his supporters proudly declaring themselves as #DougHive fans on Twitter.
Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., Emhoff is an accomplished lawyer specializing in sports, media, and entertainment law. However, he recently took a leave of absence from the multinational DLA Piper to focus on his wife’s campaign while avoiding conflict of interest.
Although Emhoff has been publicly vague about his firm, he told the interviewers that there is a chance that he might pursue pro bono legal work. Emhoff slowly gained more national attention as he appeared solely for the Democratic presidential primary in January. Months afterward, he spoke at the Florida Democratic Party’s Leadership Blue Gala in Orlando.
As a Jew, Emhoff’s friends described him as a less-than-observant one, but Judaism profoundly influenced him. A Jewish publication, Forward, embraced him as the “Second Mensch.”
Harris was Emhoff’s second wife, whom he met on a blind date arranged by friends. “It was “love at first sight,” Emhoff later said. On his first marriage, his children Cole and Ella embraced their stepmother as “Momala.” Emhoff’s ex-wife, Kerstin Mackin, remains civil and friendly, even joining the family at Thanksgiving.
Meanwhile, the contours of Emhoff’s new role as America’s “second gentleman” – some prefer “second husband” – have not yet been determined, having vague plans so far. Emhoff coincidentally shares one thing with the outgoing U.S. President, Donald Trump, being avid golfers.