Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, already facing a tough primary challenge from Tea Party Republican Matt Bevins, has a new foe: fans of cockfighting.
The Lexington Herald-Leader is reporting that cockfighting enthusiasts are madder than a wet hen over McConnell’s vote on the recently passed $956 billion farm bill which contained an amendment making it a federal crime to be a spectator at an animal fight.
The new law now makes attending a cockfight or dogfight a federal misdemeanor, punishable by up to a year in prison and $100,000 fine. Additionally, it makes bringing a minor to a fight a federal felony, punishable by up to three years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
“This will destroy Mitch McConnell in Kentucky,” said Craig Davis, president of the United Gamefowl Breeders Association.
In an interview with the Herald-Leader, Davis said the new law could have a number of unintended consequences making criminals out of law-abiding citizens,
“When you make a law like that, you take good taxpaying people and you turn them into criminals overnight,” Davis explained. “The grass roots on this are not playing games anymore. They’ve been beaten and battered for 30 years. They’re rural people. They want to be left alone.”
Davis added that he could round up as many as 60,000 votes against McConnell if their concerns were not heard noting that they could turn to Republican challenger Bevin in the May primary, but that members should first wait to address the issue with McConnell.
In an email Tuesday night, McConnell spokesman Robert Steurer said that “a representative from Sen. McConnell’s office would be happy to meet with them to discuss the issue and hear their concerns.”
Davis’ group also wants the Kentucky legislature to pass a law that would guarantee their right to hold cockfights, similar to a voter approved amendment to the state Constitution guaranteeing the right to hunt and fish.
McConnell is currently running neck and neck with Democratic challenger Alison Lundergan Grimes in the polls.