The delicious irony of a Clinton-Menendez fundraiser

And yet, she persisted.

In this case, the “she” in question is still former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. You know… the “her” in “I’m with Her.” But now she’s with him, and the new player in this story is embattled New Jersey Senator Bob Menendez. Following his narrow escape from federal corruption charges via a hung jury, Menendez has been running into some trouble. His fundraising is lagging for some reason, but now Clinton is riding to the rescue and headlining a fundraiser in New Jersey to fluff up his campaign war chest.

Hillary Clinton will help embattled U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez raise money for his re-election next month, a campaign spokesman said Tuesday.

Clinton will be the featured guest at an event raising money for Menendez, his leadership political action committee, and the New Jersey State Democratic Committee. at the Liberty Prime Steakhouse in Jersey City on Oct. 15. Tickets range from $500 to $5,400, according to an invitation posted on Twitter.

The fundraising dinner chairs include two unsuccessful Democratic congressional candidates, Lisa Mandelblatt and Linda Weber.

Menendez is running against businessman Bob Hugin in a race which wasn’t ever supposed to be competitive. (New Jersey elects the occasional GOP governor, but their Senate seats have been owned by the Democrats for ages.) But the corruption trial seems to have sunk in for at least some Garden State voters. Still, it doesn’t really look close enough that the incumbent should be all that worried. There were a couple of polls over the summer which had Menendez’s lead down near the margin of error, but he’s crept back up recently to the point where the RCP average has him up by 8.

Still, Hugin is sitting on a major cash advantage, largely thanks to a loan he gave to his campaign out of his own pocket. A big enough advertising push in the final month might bring him within striking distance so I suppose Menendez feels like he has to be ready to strike back. But is Hillary the right messenger for the job? Maybe. Hillary carried New Jersey by nearly 15 points in 2016 and she and her husband still maintain a regular presence in northern Jersey and New York City. But after the big loss to Donald Trump, Clinton hasn’t exactly been all that sought after.

We’ll see how they do. The Clinton name should still be good for raising a few bucks, even if much of their luster has faded. But there’s something particularly ironic about the Senator who came within an inch of being sent to prison teaming up with the former candidate whose name in 2016 was most often associated with a chant of “Lock Her Up.”