Mitch McConnell's Tea Party rival caught at a pro-cockfighting rally

Matt Bevin insists he though he was speaking at a state's rights rally

Published April 2, 2014 6:01PM (EDT)

It's been a crazy day in cockfighting news (never thought I'd write that, but there you go). In Louisiana, state Sen. Elbert Guillory is fighting a bill that would tighten loopholes in the state's current ban on the practice. He's not pro-cockfighting, Guillory explained, he's just pro-"chicken boxing," which he maintains is an entirely different and "legitimate" sport.

And in Kentucky, the News Journal reports, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's Tea party-backed challenger Matt Bevin appeared this past Saturday at a rally to legalize cockfighting. Bevin said he thought he was speaking at a "state's rights" rally.

“I was the first person to speak and then I left,” Bevin said. “They knew I was here. They asked if I would be interested in speaking. I’m a politician running statewide, any chance I get to speak to a few hundred people I’m going to take it.”

Organizers, according to the News Journal, "say there was never any ambiguity about why they were meeting." Cockfighting is currently illegal in Kentucky, and treated as a misdemeanor offense. Michael Devereaux, director of the Gamefowl Defense Network and the event's organizer, said the entire rally focused on how to use the democratic process to change the law.

The Kentucky cockfighting lobby turned against McConnell learned back in February, when he voted in favor of the federal farm bill. The bill included an amendment that made cockfighting a federal crime. ”This will destroy Mitch McConnell in Kentucky," Craig Davis, president of the United Gamefowl Breeders Association, told the Lexington Herald-Leader at the time. If McConnell wasn't willing to stand up for the cockfighters, he added, they'd back a candidate who would.

By Lindsay Abrams

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Cockfighting Kentucky Matt Bevin Republican Party Senate Minority Leader Mitch Mcconnell Tea Party