The actual event was a political fundraiser for state Sen. Joe Kyrillos, a Republican who wants to replace Democrat Bob Menendez in the U.S. Senate, but the reason for all the security, traffic and reporters outside a private home
Romney, the likely Republican nominee for this year's presidential race, arrived about an hour after the scheduled start of the $5,000-a-plate campaign event at the house of attorney Edward Deutsch.
The Somerset County sheriff's department, with its canine unit, a few cars and officers from the Bernardsville police department and Secret Service had already secured the entrance to the home on Dryden Road prior to 3:30 p.m., when the event was scheduled to begin.
Some of those arriving had their cars parked further down Dryden Road while other attendees, including N.J. Sen. Thomas Kean Jr. (R-District 21), were ushered into the driveway of the Deutsch home.
At about 4:30 p.m., a small motorcade, with a state police car in the front and another following behind, pulled up to the front of the gated home, and Romney quickly entered the residence.
Romney left the area at 5:10 p.m., waving on his way out at a group of children from a local family who had showed up to greet him and show support.
"We heard that he was here and thought it would be really fun," said Kelly McDonald, who said she lives around the corner, and brought her four children, Angus, Finn, Maggie and Jack for a hope of a glimpse of Romney.
She said that the family had met Romney in New Hampshire the weekend before the primary there. The children held support signs for Romney as they stood by the side of the Dryden Road.
Deutsch, a managing partner of the law firm of McElroy, Deutsch, Mulvaney & Carpenter, said in an interview on Tuesday.
Deutsch said he was expecting about 50 to 100 guests to attend Wednesday's event, to include hors d'oeuvres.
Deutsch said Romney is a good friend of Kyrillos, whom he said had handled the former Massachusetts governor's campaign in New Jersey.
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 Menendez, the Democrat now representing New Jersey.
Deutsch said he expected "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 was 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.
A few New York plates were among those cars pulling up on Wednesday. State Gov. Chris Christie, who lives up the road in Mendham Township, was not visible among the arriving guests.
Deutsch said he believed those who attended would enjoy meeting Romney.
On Monday, Bernardsville's police chief, Business was as usual in downtown Bernardsville before and after the event.