Silver, in a new blog post at FiveThirtyEight.com on Tuesday, wrote that Braley's warning that a farmer who doesn't have a law degree could chair the Senate Judiciary Committee if Republicans take control of the chamber gives Republicans something of an opening.
"This was just the sort of race that may have needed an external stimulus to kickstart it into higher levels of activist and news media attention," Silver wrote.
But Silver does not say that Republicans are now the favorites in the race. Silver also cautions that there are plenty of questions surrounding how much damage the comment will do.There are two big questions in particular, Silver continued: Are there other examples of Braley making similar comments? And will it mobilize Republican voters?
"But Iowa is a more plausible option for Republicans than it was a week ago. Braley has made their path to a Senate majority a little more robust," Silver concluded in the post.
A week earlier America Rising PAC unearthed footage of Braley, speaking to lawyers in Iowa, saying that "you might have a farmer from Iowa who never went to law school, never practiced law, serving as the next chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee." The comment was a clear reference to Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), the ranking Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee. The comment offered Republicans ammunition in a race that had long been seen as an easy pickup for Democrats.
Correction: This post mistakenly listed Grassley as (D-IA). He is a Republican from Iowa.