LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - A U.S. Senate candidate and a Kentucky state lawmaker sought to explain their positions on cockfighting, one day after a WAVE 3 News investigation caught them at a rally that promoted the illegal sport.
Bevin, who's challenging incumbent U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell in next month's Republican primary, claimed he didn't know it was a pro-cockfighting rally -- even though the speaker before him at the March event said that was the sole purpose of the gathering.
"I am genuinely sorry that my attendance at an event which, other than my comments, appears to have primarily involved a discussion of cockfighting, has created concern on the part of many Kentucky voters," Bevin said in a statement Friday. "I understand that concern."
Bevin said he's never supported cockfighting, a blood sport between two roosters that has long been illegal in Kentucky. But he said it should be up to state lawmakers to decide whether to criminalize the sport.
McConnell's campaign blasted Bevin over the controversy.
"Bevin's cockfighting episode will go down in history as one of the most disqualifying moments in Kentucky political history," said Allison Moore, a spokeswoman for McConnell.
At least one state lawmaker supports eliminating felony punishments for attending cockfighting events. Rep. Richard Henderson, D-Mt. Sterling, told the crowd at the Corbin rally that he had bet on chickens, been to "more than a few" chicken fights, and admitted to enjoying himself.
Friday, Henderson sought to explain his position, saying he had attended "a rooster fight while a younger man."
"However, I spoke at that event to share my believe that the federal government should not have made attendance at these events a felony -- where a person can lose their freedom, their right to vote, their Second Amendment rights and, many times, their life savings," Henderson said in a statement through a spokesman for the House Democratic caucus.
The spokesman didn't reply to multiple requests seeking comment from House Speaker Greg Stumbo, the leader of the Democratic caucus.
Police sources told WAVE 3 News that while attending a cockfight is illegal in Kentucky, there's not much officers can do to Henderson or others unless they see the event or there's video evidence.
Copyright 2014 WAVE 3 News. All rights reserved.
1115 Mt. Auburn Road
Public File Contact: