One of the half-dozen people who were listed as chairing Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign efforts in Oklahoma is a Harvard-educated used-car salesman with six DUI convictions.
“It’s no secret to anybody,” Ferlin Kearns said Tuesday afternoon of his past incarcerations. “If you look on (OSCN.net), that last DUI has been 16 years ago. Like I said, it’s public record. I’ve got a hundred skeletons in my closet and can’t hide them from anybody.”
Nearly nine hours after making his comments, Kearns messaged NonDoc to say he is only a “volunteer” for Friday’s event and “would be honored to be part of Trump’s campaign team, but I am not.” In addition, the Facebook announcement by Sen. Ralph Shortey (R-OKC) listing Kearns had been deleted by late Tuesday night.
The announcement was cited earlier this week by state political blogs The McCarville Report and Muskogee Politico, but Kearns’s Tuesday-night message claimed inaccuracy “if (Shortey) listed me as being part of the campaign.”
Earlier in the day, Mr. Kearns did not deny the title, and his comments spoke to the pride he takes in his redemption and the pride he has supporting a candidate like Mr. Trump, who seeks to “make America great again.”
“I tell people it’s an American story,” Kearns said. “From the drunk tank to the MBA program at Harvard. And that can’t happen anywhere but here. My deal is, if I can do it, anybody can do it.”
A championship-caliber shuffleboard player, he expects to graduate with his master’s from the Ivy League school in December.
Kearns runs the buy-here-pay-here company Edmond Auto Brokers and is best known for starring in TV commercials that say he finances cars for people “whose credit has been beat up a little bit.” Buyers need only tell him “who you are, where you work and where you live,” and — as always — they get to keep the small American flag attached to the vehicle.
The 51-year-old native of Newton, Kan., made Facebook posts Saturday and Sunday noting “our announcement” of Mr. Trump’s visit and the fact that “We will be bringing him to you in style in this Limo.” Tuesday afternoon, he said he and his fellow committee members did not have a comment on Mr. Trump’s impending Friday visit to the Oklahoma State Fair. Tuesday night, Kearns said his involvement is only with that event.
Messages left for two of the other people listed in Sen. Shortey’s post — including the senator himself — were not returned, but information about them is readily available online:
Sen. Ralph Shortey (R-OKC): Sen. Shortey is best known nationally as the Oklahoma legislator who sought to prohibit the use of aborted fetuses in food. He is a staunch opponent of illegal immigration, running largely on the issue in his south Oklahoma City district. He has previously worked in the oil and gas industry, according to his Senate bio.
Rep. Mike Christian (R-OKC): Rep. Christian is a retired Oklahoma Highway Patrolman who represents a south Oklahoma City district. Christian testified in the 2010 political bribery scandal involving former Rep. Randy Terrill and former Sen. Debbie Leftwich, telling jurors, “The Legislature is a lot like high school.” Two years later, he testified for himself in Workers’ Compensation Court that he was “kind of knocked goofy” when he crashed into a truck while driving to the State Capitol in 2009. Christian was awarded $61,560 for partial disability resulting from the wreck.
Carol Hefner: Mrs. Hefner and her husband, Robert Hefner IV, sell chimichurri sauce online, among a myriad of other business and community endeavors. She ran unsuccessfully in 2011 for a north Oklahoma City state senate seat, and in 2013 she was part of the push for an Oklahoma City-based “Real Housewives” reality television show.
Bob Dani: Mr. Dani is the founder of Oklahoma City’s “High Noon Club,” which meets at — you guessed it — high noon most Mondays at H&H Shooting Sports. The club seeks to spark political and civic conversation and invites various speakers to make presentations. In April, Mr. Kearns gave this talk at the club in defense of the Federal Reserve. Mr. Dani runs Robert M. Dani Inc., an insurance-fraud investigation agency, and he unsuccessfully sought an Edmond seat in the Oklahoma House of Representatives in 2012.
Larry Stein: Mr. Stein is a chief deputy within the Oklahoma County Assessor’s office. According to his LinkedIn bio, Stein is also a political commentator with a journalism and media background. Recently, Stein came under criticism for comments he posted on Facebook referring to a racial divide in America caused by “thugs and animals” in Ferguson, Mo. He deleted the post but staunchly defended his First Amendment right to free speech as a private citizen, regardless of any public position he holds.
Trump leads national Republican primary polls, as well as polling in Oklahoma.
If that’s not enough to get you pumped for Trump, check out this bonus video of Ferlin Kearns selling cars. He’s pretty good at it: