Democrat or Republican, Canada will work with Congress after midterms: Trudeau

WASHINGTON — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says Canada and the United States will remain important economic partners regardless of what Congress looks like after the midterm elections.

Voters across the U.S. are headed to the polls to decide whether Republicans or Democrats should wield control on Capitol Hill.

Trudeau says the close ties between the two countries have always transcended politics, and he doesn't expect that to change, whatever the outcome.

Polls suggest Democrats are in for a rough night as voters express persistent concerns about the U.S. economy, stubborn inflation and crime.

Republicans are expected to win control of the House of Representatives, while the balance of power in the Senate comes down to a handful of key races, including Pennsylvania and Georgia.

It may also take a while for the dust to settle: officials in Pennsylvania warn it could take several days to count all the mail-in votes, while Georgia could need a runoff election next month to settle its Senate battle.

"We have worked through very different configurations of administrations in the past," Trudeau said Tuesday when asked about the potential fallout.

"The friendship and the solidity of the relationship between Canada and the United States will continue, regardless of whatever happens in the midterms."

Midterm elections are rarely a cakewalk for the party that controls the White House, but stubborn inflation, economic anxiety and President Joe Biden's dismal approval ratings have been rocket fuel for Republicans.

Democrats have seized on fears over abortion rights and the failing health of the country's democracy to portray the GOP as a fundamental threat to basic American freedoms.

Like in 2020, Pennsylvania is a key focal point, with control of the Senate hinging on the neck-and-neck battle between John Fetterman, the state's current lieutenant-governor, and Republican challenger Dr. Mehmet Oz.

But Senate races elsewhere will also matter, including in Ohio, where polls suggest venture capitalist and "Hillbilly Elegy" author J.D. Vance has been pulling ahead of Democratic congressman Tim Ryan.

In Arizona, Trump-adjacent Republican Kari Lake's bid to become governor has consumed a lot of political oxygen and vaulted her onto the national stage, fuelling speculation she could end up on a presidential ticket before long.

Polls suggest Lake is nursing a narrow lead over her Democratic rival, Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, while on the Senate side, Sen. Mark Kelly is trying to fend off a challenge from GOP hopeful Blake Masters.

Next door in Nevada, Republican Adam Laxalt has pulled ahead of incumbent Democratic Sen. Catherine Cortez-Masto, although like most of the battleground Senate races, his lead remains within the typical margin of error.

And if the results of the midterms won't be clear for several days after polls close Tuesday night, it could take even longer to determine who controls the Senate if that ends up coming down to the fight in Georgia.

There, polls suggest Sen. Raphael Warnock is deadlocked with Herschel Walker, the football hero who remains in the running despite a long list of abortion controversies, campaign exaggerations and rhetorical pratfalls.

State law in Georgia requires a run-off election in the event no one candidate secures at least 50 per cent of the vote, which seems likely given the presence of Libertarian candidate Chase Oliver on the ballot.

The run-off vote in Georgia would take place Dec. 6.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 8, 2022.

James McCarten, The Canadian Press