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Warren Fiske
By Warren Fiske October 11, 2022

Yesli Vega changes tune on Kevin McCarthy's possible speakership

If Your Time is short

  • During the Republican primary for Virginia's 7th Congresssional District seat, Yesli Vega repeatedly promised that if she is elected this fall and the GOP wins a House majority, she would vote against making House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy the new speaker. 
  • Her promise was helpful during the primary because many ardent supporters of former President Donald Trump are unhappy with comments McCarthy made in 2021 saying Trump bore "some responsibility" for the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol.
  • During this fall's general election campaign, Vega has lauded McCarthy and will hold a fundraiser with McCarthy as her main guest. 


Prince William County Supervisor Yesli Vega ran hard to the right and lauded former President Donald Trump last spring when she won the Republican primary for the 7th Congressional District seat.

Vega repeatedly promised that if she is elected this fall and Republicans win a House majority, she would vote against making House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy the new speaker. 

Now that she’s running in the general election and seeking broader support, the Democratic Party of Virginia has accused Vega of making a U-turn on McCarthy. So, we pulled out our Flip-O-Meter, which measures whether politicians have changed on issues, and gave it a look. 

Vega then

McCarthy, R-Calif., is distrusted by many of Trump’s most ardent supporters because of statements he made to Republican colleagues days after the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol. In tapes obtained by The New York Times, McCarthy told Republican colleagues that Trump bore "some responsibility" for the riot, and he would urge the president to resign. McCarthy walked back his statements after they were disclosed.

Vega criticized McCarthy during an April 20 Republican candidates forum.

"I would not vote for Kevin McCarthy and it is because I am frustrated with Republicans," she said in audio posted to Twitter by the Virginia Democratic party. "Weak Republicans that have no spine, we had a majority and all the Republicans did was put roadblock after roadblock to slow Trump’s agenda."

She doubled down during a May 31 broadcast with John Fredericks, a key Trump organizer in Virginia, and again in a June 9 podcast when Fredericks asked Vega  her opposition to McCarthy "still held." 

"Yes it does, John, and this is why," she said. "When I talk to the voters in the 7th District, folks are tired of the lip service they are not only getting from the Democratic Party but also from so-called Republicans," she said. "They want fighters. They want people who will go down to Washington and fight for them and represent them, and that’s exactly what we’re doing.

"I can’t go up and down the Seventh District talking about needing change and not being committed to being a part of that change," she added. "So, I’ve made those remarks on your show several times, and I stand by them."

Featured Fact-check

Vega now  

Vega is seeking to broaden her support this fall as she runs against U.S. Rep. Abigail Spanberger, a Democrat. The newly redrawn 7th District is centered in Prince William, Stafford and Spotsylvania counties.

Vega has scheduled a fundraiser in McLean on Oct. 18 with McCarthy as her special guest. We asked her campaign if Vega changed her mind about backing McCarthy and got this written response from the candidate:

"Leader McCarthy has worked very hard to unify our party and build a massive operation to take back the majority. He has earned my support in this effort, and I am honored to be in the fight with him. I know that come November, we will take back the House, fire (Speaker) Nancy Pelosi, and be the necessary check and balance on Joe Biden and Nancy Pelosi’s harmful agenda that Abigail supports 100% of the time."

As we’ve previously reported, Spanberger has voted in support of Biden on each of 83 bills on which the president has taken a position. So has the vast majority ot Democratic congressmen. 

Spanberger has voted with Pelosi on each of 124 votes the speaker has cast in the current Congress, which began in January 2021, according to an analysis by ProPublica, a nonprofit news service. Spanberger has often been critical of Pelosi’s leadership, however, and has not supported her for speaker since entering the House in 2019.

Our ruling

During the spring’s Republican primary, Vega lumped McCarthy in with Republicans who "have no spine" and repeatedly said she would not support him for speaker if she was elected to Congress and Republicans gained a House majority.

On Oct. 18, McCarthy will be the special guest at a Vega fundraiser. Vega said McCarthy "earned my support" through his efforts to re-establish a Republican majority.

We rate that a Full Flop.


Our Sources

Yesli Vega, podcast interviews, May 31, 2022 (3:07 mark) and June 9, 2022 (17:20 mark)

Vega, Oct. 18 fundraiser invitation

The Washington Post, "Kiggans, Vega to define GOP direction in Virginia swing districts," June 22, 2022

The New York Times, "I’ve Had It With This Guy’: G.O.P. Leaders Privately Blasted Trump After Jan. 6," April 21, 2022

The New York Times, "McCarthy Said Trump Acknowledged ‘Some Responsibility’ for Jan. 6," April 22, 2022

Politico, "McCarthy mows down GOP detractors ahead of speaker bid — but the job isn’t done," Sept. 12, 2022

Emails from Gianni Snidle, spokesperson for the Democratic Party of Virginia, Oct. 7 and 10, 2022 

Email from Vega’s campaign, Oct. 7, 2022

ProPublica, "Head to Head: Compare Voting Records," accessed Oct. 10, 2022

Congressional Record, election of the speaker vote, Jan. 3, 2019 and Jan. 3, 2021 

PolitiFact Virginia, "Spanberger agrees with Biden most of the time," July 11, 2022

FiveThirtyEight, "Does Your Member Of Congress Vote With Or Against Biden?" accessed Oct. 10, 2022


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Yesli Vega changes tune on Kevin McCarthy's possible speakership

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