Don Gonyea

Although Don Gonyea is a NPR National Political Correspondent based in Washington, D.C., he spends much of his time traveling throughout the United States covering campaigns, elections, and the political climate throughout the country. His reports can be heard on all NPR programs and at NPR.org.

During the 2000 presidential campaign, Gonyea chronicled the controversial election and the ensuing legal recount battles in the courts. At the same time George W. Bush moved into the White House in 2001, Gonyea started as NPR's White House Correspondent. He was at the White House on the morning of September 11, 2001, providing live reports following the evacuation of the building.

As White House correspondent, Gonyea covered the Bush administration's prosecution of wars in both Afghanistan and Iraq and during the 2004 campaign he traveled with President Bush and Democratic nominee John Kerry. In November 2006, Gonyea co-anchored NPR's coverage of historic elections when Democrats captured control of both houses of the US Congress. In 2008, Gonyea was the lead reporter covering the entire Obama presidential campaign for NPR, from the Iowa caucuses to victory night in Chicago. He was also there when candidate Obama visited the Middle East and Europe. He continued covering the White House and President Barack Obama until spring 2010, when he moved into his current position.

Gonyea has filed stories from around the globe, including Moscow, Beijing, London, Islamabad, Doha, Budapest, Seoul, San Salvador, and Hanoi. He attended President Bush's first ever meeting with Russia's Vladimir Putin in Slovenia in 2001, and subsequent, at times testy meetings between the two leaders in St. Petersburg, Shanghai and Bratislava. He also covered Mr.Obama's first trip overseas as president.

In 1986, Gonyea got his start at NPR reporting from Detroit on labor unions and the automobile industry. He spent countless hours on picket lines and in union halls covering strikes, including numerous lengthy work stoppages at GM in the late 1990s. Gonyea also reported on the development of alternative fuel and hybrid-powered automobiles, Dr. Jack Kevorkian's assisted-suicide crusade, and the 1999 closing of Detroit's classic Tiger Stadium — the ballpark of his youth.

Over the years Gonyea has contributed to PBS's NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, the BBC, CBC, AP Radio, and the Columbia Journalism Review. He periodically teaches college journalism courses.

Gonyea has won numerous national and state awards for his reporting. He was part of the team that earned NPR a 2000 George Foster Peabody Award for the All Things Considered series "Lost & Found Sound."

A native of Monroe, Michigan, Gonyea is an honors graduate of Michigan State University.

Pages

Politics
6:12 am
Sat December 13, 2014

Levin, Harkin, Coburn Among Senators Bidding Adieu

Originally published on Sat December 13, 2014 12:21 pm

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Read more
Politics
2:54 am
Wed December 10, 2014

Representatives Laud A Departing Dean, 59-Year Veteran John Dingell

Originally published on Wed December 10, 2014 4:23 am

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

It's All Politics
3:55 pm
Tue December 9, 2014

Congress Says Goodbye To Its Last World War II Vets

Rep. John Dingell (from left), D-Mich., Rep. Henry Hyde, R-Ill., Rep. Ralph Regula, R- Ohio, Rep. Ralph Hall, D-Texas, Rep. Cass Ballenger, R-N.C., and Rep. Amo Houghton, R-N.Y., stand at a House ceremony honoring World War II veterans in 2004.
Evan Vucci AP

Originally published on Tue December 9, 2014 4:47 pm

The World War II era is about to officially draw to a close in the United States Congress. This comes after seven full decades during which there was always a veteran of that war in the legislative body.

Read more
Politics
2:30 pm
Thu November 13, 2014

Is The Election Over Yet?

The Republican candidate for Arizona's 2nd Congressional District, Martha McSally, speaks at a news conference on Nov. 5, the morning after the election. McSally's race against Democrat Ron Barber is so close it triggered a recount.
Ross D. Franklin AP

Originally published on Fri November 14, 2014 8:31 am

The election is over, right? Republicans gained control of the U.S. Senate and padded their majority in the House.

So the big drama of the campaign may have subsided, but there is still a handful of congressional contests up in the air.

There are runoff elections scheduled. A couple of races that are still too close to call. And at least one official recount coming.

U.S. Senate Races

Read more
Politics
5:09 am
Thu November 13, 2014

Record Numbers Of Women, Minorities Make Up Incoming Congress

Originally published on Thu November 13, 2014 5:54 am

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Read more
Politics
2:42 pm
Wed November 12, 2014

Congress' Newest Members Come To Washington

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Politics
3:20 am
Thu November 6, 2014

Republicans Gain Seats In State Legislatures, Governors Mansions

Originally published on Thu November 6, 2014 9:15 am

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Read more
Politics
2:33 pm
Mon November 3, 2014

Getting Out The Vote A More Challenging Task In The Midterms

Originally published on Mon November 3, 2014 4:23 pm

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Politics
3:04 am
Mon November 3, 2014

Iowa Senate Candidates Get In Last-Minute Campaigning

Originally published on Mon November 3, 2014 6:00 am

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Read more
Politics
3:19 pm
Sun November 2, 2014

Have A Listen: Don Gonyea's 2014 Campaign Playlist

National Political Correspondent Don Gonyea covers hot political races all over the country.
Don Gonyea NPR

Originally published on Mon November 3, 2014 2:08 pm

Join NPR on Election Night, Nov. 4, at elections.npr.org for live reports from reporters across the country, live results and our live blog. We asked NPR's National Political Correspondent Don Gonyea to help kick off our Election Night party by sharing some of the music that's playing in his ear as he covers the 2014 campaign.

My editors gave me an unusual election assignment: Come up with a playlist for the 2014 midterm campaign.

Read more
Politics
5:23 pm
Thu October 30, 2014

The Devastating History Of Midterm Elections

U.S. President Ronald Reagan quiets a cheering crowd at a Republican rally in November 1986.
Douglas C. Pizac AP

History tells us that midterm elections are bad — sometimes very bad — for the party that controls the White House. President Obama and the Democrats are pushing for voter turnout in the final days before next Tuesday's midterm election. But they are also bracing for what could be a rough night of ballot counting.

Read more
Politics
3:00 am
Wed October 29, 2014

Big GOP Names Stump For Local Candidates With Eye Toward 2016

Originally published on Wed October 29, 2014 6:12 am

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Read more
Politics
2:53 am
Fri October 24, 2014

With Biden By His Side, Minnesota Democrat Mines For Blue-Collar Vote

Originally published on Fri October 24, 2014 11:38 am

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Read more
Politics
2:33 am
Wed October 22, 2014

Obama Sits Out Campaigning As Fill-Ins Stump For Democrats

Originally published on Wed October 22, 2014 5:32 am

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Politics
2:26 pm
Thu October 16, 2014

Senate Race Delivers A Surprise Jolt To Conservative South Dakota

Democratic candidate Rick Weiland, a businessman, plays at a union hall in Sioux Falls, S.D. "We've tried to make this campaign fun," he told the crowd. "We're enjoying it. I hope you are."
Don Gonyea NPR

Originally published on Sun October 19, 2014 5:21 pm

An unlikely place has become the scene of an unexpectedly close U.S. Senate race this year: South Dakota. It's complicating all efforts to predict which party will emerge from the midterm elections with control over the chamber.

South Dakota is a conservative state where the conservative Republican was expected to win easily. And one that no one, not even Democrats, thought would be a battleground in the campaign's final weeks.

From Sioux Falls, the suddenly rollicking Senate race sounds a lot like music and poetry.

Read more
Politics
2:53 am
Fri October 10, 2014

Ducking Social Issues, GOP Struggles To Keep Conservatives Close

Iowa's Westside Conservative Club holds breakfast meetings at a Machine Shed restaurant outside Des Moines. Longtime GOP Sen. Chuck Grassley spoke at a recent breakfast.
Scott Olson Getty Images

Originally published on Fri October 10, 2014 11:25 am

The push to get out the vote is in full force. Midterm elections are just over three weeks away, and early voting has already started in some states.

Rallying voters is always a major undertaking. But this year is proving even tougher, with trust in government at rock bottom. That includes both the Democratic president and the Republican House.

The GOP still expects to do very well in November. But that doesn't mean the Republican base is all that excited.

Read more
National Security
5:55 am
Sat October 4, 2014

Secret Service's Hollywood Allure Fueled By Its Secrecy

Originally published on Sat October 4, 2014 11:50 am

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

All the security stumbles and the leadership shakeup have put the spotlight on the U.S. Secret Service this week. Late night comedians are doing what they do in such moments.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "THE TONIGHT SHOW")

Read more
Politics
3:06 am
Tue September 30, 2014

In Michigan, A Low-Key Campaign For A High-Stakes Senate Seat

Terri Lynn Land walks in the Labor Day Parade in Romeo, Mich., on Sept. 1. Land has made some public appearances like this one but overall is running a low-key race in the state.
Paul Sancya AP

Originally published on Tue September 30, 2014 12:33 pm

Republicans see a chance for a takeover of the Senate this November, and they are hoping the path to victory leads through Michigan. That's where six-term Democratic Sen. Carl Levin is retiring.

Even though Democrats dominate the state in the presidential elections, the GOP does much better in midterms when voter turnout is lower.

Read more
Politics
7:09 am
Sat September 27, 2014

For Michigan Political Ads, The Tigers Are The Big Game In Town

Detroit Tigers Victor Martinez (left) and Torii Hunter celebrate Martinez's two-run home run against the Minnesota Twins on Thursday.
Paul Sancya AP

Originally published on Mon September 29, 2014 12:20 pm

We're in the final weekend of the regular baseball season and there are still pennant races and wild-card matchups to be set.

Along with sports fans, political consultants are watching as well, and they are keeping an especially close eye on the Detroit Tigers. A fine team, sure, but also one uniquely suited to fill the needs of the people who buy TV time for political campaigns.

All over the country, advertisers love to buy sports spots for the big audiences that are enthusiastic and engaged. And with a live telecast, you can't fast-forward through the ads.

Read more
It's All Politics
1:45 pm
Thu September 18, 2014

Will Bridge Scandal Jam Gov. Christie's Road Show?

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie greets supporters at a campaign event for Scott Brown (center left) in Salem, N.H.
Elise Amendola AP

Originally published on Thu September 18, 2014 4:49 pm

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie was in New Hampshire on Wednesday, technically on 2014 election business. But he was also there to make an impression for 2016. It seems every time you turn around in the early primary states, you bump into another potential — let's say likely — candidate for president. Count Christie in the pack.

All of this as he's been dealing with fallout from the "Bridgegate" scandal involving massive traffic jams created by politically motivated lane closures on the George Washington Bridge in New Jersey.

Read more
Politics
5:13 am
Mon September 15, 2014

Hillary Clinton Keeps Iowa Crowd Guessing About Her Presidential Plans

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, former President Bill Clinton and U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin work the grill during Harkin's annual fundraising steak fry in Indianola, Iowa, on Sunday.
Charlie Neibergall AP

Originally published on Tue September 16, 2014 3:10 pm

Hillary Clinton, who has a huge lead in many early presidential polls, returned to Iowa on Sunday. The woman who says she has not yet decided on a 2016 presidential run appeared along with former President Bill Clinton in a state she has not visited since she lost the 2008 Iowa caucuses to Barack Obama.

Her speech at the annual steak fry hosted by U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin, a must-attend event for state Democratic activists, revealed little about her intentions — but also did nothing to dampen the widespread belief that she will indeed run.

Read more
Politics
3:17 pm
Thu September 11, 2014

A Promise Fulfilled Upends Kansas Governor's Race

Republican Gov. Sam Brownback (left) listens while his Democratic challenger Paul Davis answers a question during their first debate at the Kansas State Fair.
Charlie Riedel AP

Originally published on Fri September 12, 2014 7:00 am

Kansas has become such a reliably red state in presidential elections that when other election years roll around, the results still seem a foregone conclusion. But the governor's mansion has switched parties often in the past 60 years, and Democrats may take it back this November.

Republican Gov. Sam Brownback is running for re-election, and for months now, polls have shown him consistently running well behind his Democratic challenger.

Read more
Politics
4:07 am
Mon September 8, 2014

Once Low-Key, U.S. Senate Race In Kansas Suddenly Volatile

Republican Sen. Pat Roberts (left) and independent candidate Greg Orman shake hands after a debate at the Kansas State Fair on Saturday in Hutchinson, Kan.
Charlie Riedel AP

Originally published on Mon September 8, 2014 1:06 pm

There are a couple of things we've long known to be true of the state of Kansas: the stormy weather (just ask a little girl named Dorothy and her dog, Toto), and the politics. In presidential elections, Kansas is deep red. And the state's entire congressional delegation is Republican.

But this year, there's sudden volatility in Kansas politics. As a result, some longtime Republican officeholders are fighting to keep their jobs, including U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts.

Read more
Politics
2:36 pm
Mon September 1, 2014

Guns Boom In 2014 Campaign Ads

Image from Montana congressional hopeful Matt Rosendale's campaign ad, in which he shoots what he calls a government drone out of the sky.
YouTube

Originally published on Fri September 5, 2014 7:35 am

Read more
It's All Politics
2:47 pm
Wed August 27, 2014

State Democrats Play Defense Ahead Of Midterm Elections

MHJ iStockphoto

Originally published on Wed August 27, 2014 5:29 pm

Democrats are bracing for the 2014 election, now fewer than 10 weeks away.

What has them worried this year?

There's the president's slumping approval scores, the public view that the country is on the wrong track, and frustration that the economic recovery hasn't eased the nation's economic anxiety.

Read more
Politics
2:10 pm
Thu August 21, 2014

Lawyers, Ready Your Pens: November Elections Could Mean Recounts

Originally published on Thu August 21, 2014 4:24 pm

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Read more
Politics
3:25 am
Mon August 18, 2014

An Unprecedented Transfer Of Power Marked Ford's Presidency

President Gerald Ford and First Lady Betty Ford, with Jack and Susan Ford at their Alexandra, Va. home on August 12, 1974. The Ford family lived there for ten days until the executive mansion was ready.
David Hume Kennerly Getty Images

Originally published on Mon August 18, 2014 6:11 am

Forty years ago, America was getting to know a new president: Gerald Ford. He took office after scandal forced the resignation of Richard Nixon, famously declaring: "My fellow Americans, our long national nightmare is over."

Taking on the presidency meant a transfer of power unlike any the country had ever seen. Ford often said he had never aspired to the White House. But there he was, in the summer of 1974.

Read more
History
2:09 pm
Tue July 29, 2014

Forget Tea Pot Dome: Harding's Love Letters Make For A New Steamy Scandal

A letter from Warren G. Harding to his lover, Carrie Fulton Phillips, dated Jan. 24, 1916.
Don Gonyea NPR

Originally published on Tue July 29, 2014 5:50 pm

President Warren G. Harding presided over Prohibition, died before completing his first term, and is consistently ranked by historians and the public as one of the worst U.S. presidents.

But suddenly he's getting a lot of attention, thanks to a cache of steamy love letters he wrote to a mistress over 15 years. Sealed for a half-century, today the Library of Congress made the entire collection available to the public.

James Hutson, chief archivist of the manuscript division at the library, pulled a box of the letters from the collection this morning.

Read more
Politics
3:35 am
Fri July 18, 2014

While Campaigning For Other Democrats, Sen. Warren Gains Fans

Originally published on Mon July 21, 2014 8:49 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

We report next on a woman who's become a focus of presidential speculation. Hillary Clinton, of course, is an overwhelming front-runner for the Democratic nomination, but Elizabeth Warren has excited a lot of Democratic activists. The Massachusetts senator is spending her summer traveling the country.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Read more
Politics
2:19 pm
Wed July 16, 2014

Like Clockwork, Impeachment Talk Surfaces — But Action's Unlikely

President Obama waves before boarding Air Force One prior to his departure from Andrews Air Force Base on June 26.
Jose Luis Magana AP

Originally published on Fri July 18, 2014 11:00 am

When a U.S. president gets deep into a second term, there are certain things that you can count on.

Political victories are tougher to come by.

The battle scars are deeper.

Public approval falls, and the opposing party looks for new ways to gain some advantage.

And in the modern presidency, there's another second-term development that's becoming just as predictable as the list above — calls for the president to be impeached.

It happens even when there's little — or no — chance of success.

Read more

Pages