U.S. Senate candidate Matt Bevin speaks at a meet and greet, Tuesday Jan. 14, 2014 in Henderson, Kentucky.
Mike Lawrence, The Gleaner/AP Photo

Bevin falls in a ditch, keeps digging

Kentucky’s Matt Bevin, who’s challenging Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell in a Republican primary, recently spoke at an event he would have been better off skipping.
U.S. Republican Senate candidate Matt Bevin’s itinerary listed a Saturday’s morning event at The Arena in Corbin as a “states’ rights rally,” but event organizers say the sole purpose was to build support to legalize cockfighting in Kentucky.
Bevin addressed the crowd of about 700 people at the event, which was closed to the media.
If we apply the rules of Campaign Management 101, we can quickly acknowledge three basic truths: (1) Senate candidates in the 21st century probably shouldn’t attend cockfighting; (2) if they do, they shouldn’t lie about it; and (3) trying to make up for the lie by defending cockfighting only makes matters worse.
Somehow, Matt Bevin managed to break all of these rules over the course of a few days.
Bevin accepted an invitation from the Gamefowl Defense Network – seriously, that’s what it’s called – and delivered remarks over the weekend. The Republican candidate later insisted he had no idea he was speaking to pro-cockfighting activists.
The event’s hosts soon suggested Bevin’s explanation wasn’t possible: the “entire rally” was devoted to the issue and “there was never any ambiguity” about the point of the gathering organized by the Gamefowl Defense Network.
Apparently left with no choice, Bevin decided to switch gears: he started defending cockfighting.
Kentucky Republican Senate candidate Matt Bevin continued to address his presence at a rally for supporters of legalizing cockfighting by saying America’s Founding Fathers were very involved in the cockfighting world too.
“But it’s interesting when you look at cockfighting and dogfighting as well,” Bevin said in an interview on the Terry Meiners Show on Louisville’s WHAS on Thursday. “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.]”
Now, I have no idea whether there were Founding Fathers who considered themselves cockfighting and dogfighting enthusiasts – historians in the audience are encouraged to weigh in via the comments section – but in this context, Bevin appears to be missing the point.
Let’s put it another way:
1. Bevin speaks at a cockfighting event.
2. Bevin distances himself from cockfighting supporters.
3. Bevin decides cockfighting is just a good ol’ fashioned American tradition.
It appears there’s a reason Team McConnell is optimistic about its chances.