Kentucky Senate candidate Matt Bevin is on film expressing positive thoughts about legal cockfighting in his state, the reporter behind an undercover story on cockfighting said in a preview before it aired Thursday night.
The revelation could be harmful for the Republican challenger to Kentucky Sen. Mitch McConnell. After it was revealed that Bevin attended a pro-cockfighting rally in Corbin last month, the conservative challenger said he didn’t know the event had anything to do with cockfighting. He said he thought it was just a “state’s rights” rally.
“I’ve never been to a cockfight,” Bevin, a businessman, said when asked about the rally earlier this month. “I don’t condone cockfighting, but here’s the thing: I’m not going to disparage people for exercising their First Amendment rights.”
Previewing his undercover story set to air Thursday night on cockfighting in Kentucky, local NBC affiliate reporter John Boel said video shows that there “was no question about what the rally was about.”
“Then Matt Bevin got up and spoke and was asked a direct question,” Boel said during a radio interview previewing the spot Thursday. “You’ll see the direct question tonight in the report at eleven: If you’re elected will you vote to support legalizing cockfighting? and [Bevin] says: Criminalizing behavior that is a longtime part of Kentucky heritage, that’s a bad idea, a very bad idea.”
Kentucky’s Republican primary is set for May 20. Polls show McConnell with a large lead over Bevin. The winner of the primary will face Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes.