Preparations for Wednesday's private campaign fundraiser that will bring together Republican candidates Sen. Joseph Kyrillos, who's seeking election to the U.S. Senate, and his friend Mitt Romney—who's got his eye on the White House— have been underway at the Deutsch household in Bernardsville.
"It's not going to be a huge crowd," said Edward Deutsch, a managing partner of the law firm of McElroy, Deutsch, Mulvaney & Carpenter. Deutsch and his wife will be hosting the campaign event at his home. Already, he said, Romney's security staff were at his house on Tuesday.
Deutsch said people are still responding to invitations to the $5,000-a-plate fundraiser. He said he's expecting about 50 to 100 guests to attend Wednesday's event, which will offer guests hors d'oeuvres.
On Monday, Bernardsville's police chief, Kevin Valentine, said he does not believe Romney's arrival will impact local traffic or borough business.
Meanwhile, some local officials and business people said they wouldn't be able to afford the price of admission to meet Romney, even if they had wanted to.
"I don't have that kind of money," Somerset County Freeholder Peter Palmer, also a Republican and a longtime participant in Somerset County and Bernardsville politics, said on Monday. "If someone wants to give me a ticket, I would go," he added.
Deutsch said the campaign event was conceived because Romney is a good friend of Kyrillos, whom he said had handled the former Massachusetts governor's campaign in New Jersey.
Now Romney, front-runner candidate for the Republican party's nominee for U.S. president, apparently is returning the favor by giving a boost to Kyrillos, a state senator from Monmouth County who wants to unseat Bob Menendez, the Democrat now representing New Jersey.
Deutsch said Wednesday's attendees should include "some very high-profile people" and also those who are very interested in the outcome of the election in New Jersey, and who would "like an opportunity to meet [Romney], who we hope is the next president of the United States."
Deutsch said he believes Romney has a very strong base of support locally, and all over the country. "I think we have a country in crisis," he said.
Deutsch said he is expecting attendees from throughout Central New Jersey, as well as Bergen County and Kyrillos' home base of Monmouth County. Deutsch's primary law office is in Morristown.
Deutsch said he believes those who attend will enjoy meeting Romney.
"I have met him, and he's a charming guy," he said. He added he believes Romney's likeability will come across more once the candidate is beyond the "kerfuffle" of attacks by opponents such as former GOP presidential rival Rick Santorum.
In response to a question, Deutsch said he had read about Romney's 2003 rescue of a Tewksbury Township family whose boat was sinking in Lake Winnipesaukee in New Hampshire, and he might ask him about that incident.
For information on attending the campaign event, call Maria Chappa at 973-239-3024.