U.S. Congressman Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-11th District) stopped into the the Nevada Diner, at 293 North Broad Street in Bloomfield and introduced himself to diners on the second stop of his Essex County diner tour on Wednesday night.
The Congressman’s diner tour was part of his campaign in the new towns added to New Jersey's 11th Congressional district. Frelinguysen will square off against Democrat John Arvanites in November.
Frelinghuysen spent most of his time introducing himself to the many customers in the diner sitting down to eat around 6 p.m. “This is where everything goes on in this town,” Frelinghuysen said about diners. "It's some sort of New Jersey phenomenon."
Owner of the diner, Nick Nissirios, said, "It was nice to see him, even though he didn't know him."
Frelinghuysen admitted that most of the customers he met didn’t know him and didnt' realize he represents them in Congress, he said, but they were all happy to meet him.
“People are always thrilled to meet someone running for Congress,” Frelinghuysen said. “And when I tell them I’m already in Congress they get really excited.”
The diner tour included the Nutley Diner in Nutley; Nevada Diner in Bloomfield; Verona Diner in Verona; and the Grasshopper in Cedar Grove.
Some women customers laughed and thanked him for free nail files, which was striped red, white and blue, instead of giving out a traditional campaign pen or bumper sticker.
The Congressman made his way around to not just to the customers but also introduced himself to the employees.
“We'll do anythng for anybody, Republican or Democrat,” said Michael Karas, the manager of the Nevada Diner.
Since the redistricting, New Jersey’s 11th Congressional District has the largest population of residents of districts up for grabs in November. The seat was originally centered in Morris County, but now includes more towns in Essex and Passaic counties.
The townships added to the district last December were Nutley, Bloomfield, Wayne, Cedar Grove, Verona, Montclair, Pompton Lakes, Ogdensburg, Bloomingdale, Little Falls, North Haledon, Woodland Park and Wanaque. This has added over 270,000 people to the 11th District Frelinghuysen said.