Tea Party candidate Matt Bevin: The Founding Fathers were "very involved" in cockfighting and dogfighting

Bevin's justification for appearing at a pro-cockfighting rally gets even stranger

Published April 4, 2014 3:50PM (EDT)

Matt Bevin, the Kentucky candidate challenging Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, still hasn't taken a stand on cockfighting -- or, for that matter, admitted that he knowingly spoke at a pro-cockfighting rally -- but he's going full Tea Party in his attempt to unofficially support the bloody sport.

Bevin said that he's never "been to a cockfight" and doesn't "condone cockfighting," but argued that it's nonetheless a long and storied American tradition:

"It's interesting when you look at cockfighting and dogfighting as well," Bevin said Thursday in an interview with a Louisville radio station. "This isn't something new, it wasn't invented in Kentucky for example. I mean the Founding Fathers were all many of them very involved in this and always have been [sic.]"

He added, "I'm going to defend the right of people to freely gather and discuss whatever they want to." A spokesperson for his campaign said he believes the issue should be left up to states to decide.

"Bevin's claims about not knowing ring hollow, as he is now parroting the language of anyone who defends animal cruelty but masks their true intent by speaking of 'states' rights," the Humane Society Legislative Action Fund said in a statement. The group is calling for Bevin to withdraw from the race.

Listen to the interview below:

By Lindsay Abrams

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Cockfighting Dogfighting Matt Bevin Mitch Mcconnell Tea Party Video