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Kentucky GOP Senate candidate Matt Bevin slammed for speech at cockfighting rally

Bevin’s claim that the Founding Fathers were cockfighters is lampooned in new radio ad from Senator Mitch McConnell’s campaign

♦By Rich Shumate, editor

kentucky mugLOUISVILLE (CFP) — Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is lampooning his Republican primary rival, Matt Bevin, for speaking at a cockfighting rally and then asserting that the Founding Fathers were “very, very involved” in the blood sport.

U.S. Senate candidate Matt Bevin

U.S. Senate candidate Matt Bevin

The McConnell campaign is airing a new radio ad calling Bevin “a comedy of errors” and playing an excerpt from The Colbert Report where host Stephen Colbert made fun of Bevin’s speech at the rally.

“Matt Bevin keeps making national headlines, but not in a good way,” the ad says. “Matt Bevin, a comedy of errors. But don’t let the joke be on you.”

Bevin spoke at a rally in Corbin, Kentucky, on March 29, sponsored by the American Gamefowl Defense Network. The group supports legalizing cockfighting, which is currently illegal in all 50 states.

In an subsequent interview with WHAS radio in Louisville, Bevin said he thought the event was a state’s rights rally and wasn’t aware it was in support of cockfighting. He also said he didn’t “condone the sport.”

“But here’s the thing: I’m not going to disparage people for exercising their First Amendment rights,” Bevin told WHAS, before adding an historical analysis that McConnell is now using in the radio ad:

“But it’s interesting when you look at cockfighting, and dogfighting as well, this isn’t something new. It wasn’t invented in Kentucky. For example, I mean, the Founding Fathers were all, many of them, very actively involved in all of this and always have been,” Bevin said.

The Humane Society of the United States’ Legislative Fund is calling on Bevin to drop out of the Senate race.

“Matt Bevin showed appalling judgment in associating himself with this band of lawbreakers and perpetrators of unspeakable animal cruelty,” said Michael Markarian, president of the group. “He’s brought discredit upon the state of Kentucky, and he should withdraw from the Senate race.”

Bevin, 47, of Louisville is a former investment adviser who now runs his family’s bell manufacturing company in New Hampshire. This is his first run for political office. His primary challenge to McConnell has drawn financial support from national conservative groups, including FreedomWorks and the Senate Conservatives Fund.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell

McConnell, 72, has been in the Senate since 1985. He was elected GOP leader in 2007 and would become majority leader if he wins re-election and Republicans pick up the six seats they need to take control.

Recent polling has shown McConnell with a wide lead in the primary race.

Whoever wins the Republican primary on May 20 will face Democratic Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes in the general election this fall.

McConnell is the Democrats’ top Senate target in 2014 and likely the only chance they have to pick up a seat anywhere in the South.

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