The man shaking hands alongside Chris Christie tonight at a Greenwich, Connecticut, diner was Tom Foley, a Republican in a three-way primary bid to unseat Gov. Dannel Malloy.
Foley is hardly an unknown: In 2010, he lost to Malloy by less than 1 percent, and he has the endorsement of the Connecticut Republican State Central Committee.
The crowd, though, seemed much more interested in the governor from New Jersey as he worked his way among the tables at Glory Days, the restaurant whose name shares the title of a song by Bruce Springsteen, a Christie hero.
“Hi, I’m Chris,” said Christie, who introduced his sidekick as “Tom.”
When patrons asked for photos, he coaxed folks to squish so Foley could get into the frame, too.
Some would-be patrons, confronted with a throng of reporters and photographers, did a U-turn on arrival. Some who were seated said they had no idea that Glory Days was a scheduled campaign stop before the pair headed to a private fundraiser for the Connecticut Republican Party and the Republican Governors Association, which Christie chairs.
Sam Zuckert, 19, and Drew Peisch, 18, Greenwich residents with an interest in Republican politics, said they are fans of Christie and Foley. Besides, they said, they were hungry.
“We’ve been following Tom Foley’s campaign and we’ve also been following Governor Christie,” Zuckert said. “A big name like Christie — I think it’s actually good for Mr. Foley because it will give him some notoriety. In such a competitive election as this next one’s going to be, any type of positive attention can help.”
As the 20-minute appearance wound down, reporters scurried to the curb for Christie’s departure.
Foley lingered for a moment inside.
“Second fiddle behind this guy?” Foley, referring to Christie, told a reporter. “I don’t mind. That’s a pretty good fiddle.”