The last time we check on the California race for US Senate, The state’s Democrat Party leadership endorsed progressive challenger Kevin de Leon over the incumbent Dianne Feinstein.
Therefore, the timing of a new report about a Chinese spy who was by Feinstein’s side for nearly 20 years is fascinating.

…[A]ll eyes are on Chinese intelligence in the Bay Area after the website Politico reported last week that a staffer for Senator Feinstein turned out to be a Chinese spy who reported back to the government officials about local politics.

On Wednesday, the San Francisco Chronicle uncovered additional details in a column written by reporters Phil Matier and Andy Ross.

The column revealed that the Chinese spy was Feinstein’s driver who also served as a gofer in her Bay Area office and was a liaison to the Asian-American community.

He even attended Chinese consulate functions for the senator.

He was forced to retire 5 years ago, after FBI officials apprised Feinstein about his activities.

“Besides driving her around when she was in California, the staffer also served as gofer in her San Francisco office and as a liaison to the Asian American community, even attending Chinese Consulate functions for the senator.

According to our source, the intrigue started years earlier when the staffer took a trip to Asia to visit relatives and was befriended by someone who continued to stay in touch with him on subsequent visits.

That someone was connected with the People’s Republic of China’s Ministry of State Security.

“He didn’t even know what was happening — that he was being recruited,” says our source. “He just thought it was some friend.”

The FBI apparently concluded the driver hadn’t revealed anything of substance.

Why is this news being released? A possible explanation is that the Democratic Party’s current leaders in the Left Coast want a fresh face sooner rather than later, and a recent poll focused on the state of the senate race does not look promising for Feinstein’s challenger:

In her bid for a fifth full term as US senator, Dianne Feinstein leads fellow Democrat and state senator Kevin de León 46 percent to 24 percent among likely voters, with 9 percent undecided. She has majority support among Democratic likely voters (66%) and leads de León among independents (38% to 24%). With no Republican candidates to choose from, 47 percent of Republican likely voters and 24 percent of independents say they would not vote in this race.

Feinstein leads by at least 20 points among likely voters across education and racial/ethnic groups, as well as among women, those age 55 and older, and residents in Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay Area. When the likely voters who volunteer that they would not vote in this race are excluded, Feinstein has a 28-point lead (58% to 30%).

Perhaps the Democrats think that news of a Chinese spy might cause Feinstein’s Republican and independent voters to reconsider their choice. Another good sign for the current US Senator: She did NOT make Obama’s endorsement list.

I doubt the “spy story” will work as hoped, and I pray Feinstein has 6 healthy years ahead of her. I dread what is likely to follow when she finally leaves office.