Matt Bevin, Sen. Mitch McConnell’s (R-Ky.) primary challenger, apologized Friday for his appearance at a cockfighting rally earlier this month and said he doesn’t support the practice.
In his Friday statement, Bevin still asserted that he saw the event as one “where folks had gathered to address various states’ rights issues.” [READ BEVIN'S STATEMENT HERE.]
"I am genuinely sorry that my attendance at an event which, other than my comments, appears to have primarily involved a discussion of cockfighting, has created concern on the part of many Kentucky voters. I understand that concern,” Bevin said.
He added that while he’s “not and have never been a supporter of cockfighting or any other forms of animal cruelty,” he’s a “strong supporter of states rights,” and suggested that the legality of cockfighting should be a state issue.
“Regardless of any personal views on this issue, animal rights are not an enumerated power granted to the federal government under the Constitution. Such decisions should be left to each state to decide,” he continued.
Bevin, for the past month, denied he knew the rally was connected to cockfighting. But a video that surfaced this week showed him answering a direct question about whether he’d support the effort to legalize gamecock fighting in the state, in the affirmative.
Following the release of the video, Allison Moore, McConnell’s spokeswoman, called Bevin's cockfighting snafu “one of the most disqualifying moments in Kentucky political history."
Moore said Bevin’s cockfighting comments will go down in history as a “pathological lie” from the candidate.
“Twenty years from now, we will all remember the time when the East Coast con-man thought so little of Kentuckians that he pathologically lied to us about absolutely everything, until an undercover camera caught him red-handed at a cockfighting rally,” she said.
McConnell is heavily favored in the May 20 primary and is expected to go on to face Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes (D) in the general election.