FRANKFORT, Ky. – Republican U.S. Senate candidate Matt Bevin says it was "a bad idea" to outlaw cockfighting and that he "will not support it."
Bevin made the comments during a rally on March 29 in Corbin, according to a report by WAVE TV.
Asked if he would vote to legalize cockfighting, Bevin said: "Criminalizing behavior, if it's part of the heritage of this state, is in my opinion a bad idea. A bad idea. I will not support it."
The comments contradict Bevin's earlier statements that he was speaking to the group about his Senate candidacy and that he did not know it was a rally to legalize cockfighting. Bevin later told the station he does not personally support cockfighting.
"What I stand behind is people's ability to examine their First Amendment rights to speak about whatever they want to speak about," he said.
The revelations come less than a month before the Republican primary, when Bevin is trying to unseat Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.
A spokeswoman for McConnell called Bevin an "east coast con man" who "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."
A spokeswoman for Bevin called the report "just a rehash of an old story."
"Since McConnell can't defend his record, all he can do is try to make his opponent look worse," Sarah Durand said. "Instead, we should be addressing the core issue — that the federal government has gotten too big, too intrusive, and needs to be reined in."