On the first "Friday Without Frelinghuysen" since Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-11th Dist.) announced his retirement plans, new Parsippany Mayor Michael Soriano praised the "warriors" of NJ 11th for Change and thanked the 12-term congressman–for galvanizing him to run for office.
"Going against the good Congressman was one of my main reasons for running, because it was told to me, and I looked at the numbers, that if we could change Parsippany and flip it, we could help flip [District] 11," Soriano told the weekly gathering of activists near Frelinghuysen's Morristown office.
The grassroots group has been pressing Frelinghuysen to hold a town hall meeting for the last year.
"The fact that he was not intelligent enough, did not study the issue enough, to listen to his constituents…he probably could have stopped a lot of this if he just simply listened," Soriano said.
"I heard what you were saying, and then I analyzed my candidate in my municipality, and I said my goodness, he's doing the same thing," said the Democrat, who defeated Republican Mayor James Barberio in November.
Soriano said he knew Frelinghuysen, a perennial shoo-in, would be stepping down when he heard last week that the Congressman was taking a poll.
"I said, that's it. He's done," said Soriano, who called himself a proud member of NJ 11th for Change.
"We're so glad you're leading the charge. You are warriors, each and every one of you," he said, urging members to unite behind a congressional candidate "who listens," and canvass door-to-door.
"Politicians get out there and they talk a lot. I went out there and I listened. And that had an effect. And it did come back to me in a positive way," Soriano said.
In his weekly e-newsletter, Frelinghuysen re-posted his retirement statement, which concludes by praising his staff, "the best public servants ever!
"No member of Congress ever had a better, more loyal staff to serve those in need," said the chairman of the powerful House Appropriations Committee. He is the eighth GOP committee chair in Congress to announce he won't seek re-election, according to Politico.
Correspondent Bill Lescohier contributed to this report, and shot the video posted above.