Brooklyn Progressive Dems Raise Alarm About New Party Director’s GOP Past
Members of the New Kings Democrats are troubled by Andy Marte’s previous registration as a Republican and social media posts they say are his.
The Brooklyn Democratic Party, New York’s largest Democratic county organization, has a new director who was recently a registered Republican, THE CITY has learned, bringing fresh scrutiny to a social media account in his name rife with right-wing talking points like the Pizzagate conspiracy theory.
Andy J. Marte grew up in Bushwick, ran for state Senate in 2020 and has long been involved in the borough’s political scene.
But voter records, reviewed by THE CITY, show that as recently as 2019, he was registered as a Republican.
Members of the New Kings Democrats, a progressive faction within the party, say they are troubled by Marte’s past political affiliation. Since his appointment, some have also circulated images of pro-Trump and other right-wing social media posts, which they believe are his and which they contend are at odds with the party’s values.
“Retweeting Trump and sympathizing with Trump’s views is disqualifying,” said Jesse Pierce, a downtown Brooklyn district leader with the New Kings Democrats. “What does this Brooklyn Democratic Party stand for if this person is now a top staffer?”
A Twitter account, which uses Marte’s name and includes his photo, bio and several tweets promoting his failed state senate campaign, posted two tweets in 2019 that highlight a van painted with messages about the right-wing conspiracy theory Pizzagate. One of the tweets tags then-President Donald Trump, followed by “taking down Pedophile networks.”
Throughout 2019, that same Twitter account also consistently retweeted GOP leaders, including Trump, then Assemblymember Nicole Malliotakis and former Mayor Rudy Giuliani, as well as right-wing media sources like Breitbart and BlazeTV.
The account also retweeted messages bashing the Democrat party and the Black Lives Matter movement.
Since the retweets were made without comment, it is not clear if the account was endorsing the content of those posts. The same account also retweeted Democratic officials and causes.
Marte did not respond to questions from THE CITY about his social media activity or his past voting record.
Asked about the social media posts, Brooklyn State Senator Julia Salazar said she would be particularly concerned if any top members of the county’s Democratic leadership espoused Trump’s anti-immigrant views.
“Immigrant communities make up a particularly large constituency in the Democratic party in Brooklyn,” she said. “The party should categorically reject rhetoric that is hostile towards immigrants. If anyone in the party’s leadership has espoused those views before, they need to answer for that.”
In a statement, a spokesperson for the Kings County Democratic Party defended Marte, pointing to his 15 years of experience as a Democratic consultant and strategist. The party spokesperson did not answer questions about the social media posts in question, but did confirm that Marte had previously switched his party affiliation.
“Conflicts of interest with local leadership led him to briefly change his registration, not a difference in values. His political views are aligned with our national and local parties, and he has in fact run twice as a Democrat,” the party spokesperson said. “Raised in the borough, and a lifelong advocate of affordable housing, Andy is the definition of a ‘grassroots’ activist. While some in the party seek to sow dissent out of self-interest, we try to unify and not throw shade at anyone who may not be in their clubhouse.”
Marte, 32, got his start in Brooklyn politics as a teenager working for Vito Lopez, the borough’s former party boss who in 2013 resigned from the state Assembly after facing allegations of sexual harassment.
In the wake of his departure from state office, Lopez mounted a failed bid for City Council and Marte served as his campaign manager.
The Kings County Democratic Party did not respond to questions about the responsibilities and any compensation associated with Marte’s position.