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.

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Politics
6:45 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

Originally published on Thu October 30, 2014 7:23 pm

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.

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Politics
5:06 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 2:33 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.

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It's All Politics
3:51 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 6:49 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.

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It's All Politics
8:08 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 5:10 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.

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Politics
5:17 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 9:00 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.

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Politics
5:14 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 8:11 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.

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History
4:09 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 7:50 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.

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Politics
5:25 pm
Tue June 24, 2014

Meet The New Stars Of Campaign Ads: Mom And Dad

Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., talks with her father, former New Orleans Mayor Moon Landrieu, on Feb. 1. The two appear together in recent television ads for her re-election campaign.
Gerald Herbert AP

Originally published on Tue June 24, 2014 7:14 pm

It's the summer of a campaign year and once again the airwaves, the Internet, and likely your own Facebook and other social media feeds are full of political ads.

In the primaries, we've already seen ads featuring cartoon turtles, gator wrestling, lots of dogs, horses and, of course, guns — propped against pickup trucks or resting over shoulders.

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Iraq
4:32 pm
Wed June 18, 2014

The Specter Of Iraq Haunts The Political Life Of Barack Obama

President Obama speaks to troops at Fort Bragg, N.C., in December 2011.
Gerry Broome AP

Originally published on Wed June 18, 2014 7:08 pm

Iraq has long played a major role in President Obama's political life, going back to his earliest days as an Illinois state senator barely known outside of his Chicago district.

Obama's early anti-Iraq war stand would become a centerpiece of his first run for the White House, but it's since been a persistent crisis that's been his to manage, despite his every effort to put it behind him.

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Politics
4:18 pm
Wed June 11, 2014

As News Of Cantor's Upset Settles, A Shakeup Still Looms On The Hill

Originally published on Wed June 11, 2014 6:24 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.

MELISSA BLOCK, BYLINE: And I'm Melissa Block. Republicans are reeling from the

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Politics
5:25 am
Wed June 11, 2014

Clinton Uses 'Hard Choices' Book Tour To Steer Benghazi Message

Originally published on Wed June 11, 2014 7:46 am

Republicans have been using the 2012 attack in Libya against her. Analysts say while Hillary Clinton is talking about Benghazi, she is defining the issue herself well ahead of any political campaign.

Politics
5:10 am
Thu June 5, 2014

Senate Expected To Approve Sebelius Replacement At HHS

Originally published on Thu June 5, 2014 12:40 pm

The Senate votes Thursday on the nomination of Sylvia Mathews Burwell to be Health and Human Services Secretary, replacing Kathleen Sebelius. Burwell was running the Office of Management and Budget.

It's All Politics
3:30 am
Thu May 22, 2014

Former Obama Campaigner Tries Running For Himself In Iowa

Originally published on Thu May 22, 2014 9:41 am

Could President Obama one day motivate future generations to run for office, the way that John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan have? It's too early to tell if a trend will take hold, but there is at least one key Obama campaign veteran now running for statewide office.

Brad Anderson was the spokesman for Obama's 2008 Iowa campaign. Four years later, he ran the president's entire Iowa operation. Now Anderson is running for Iowa secretary of state.

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Politics
4:57 pm
Tue May 20, 2014

Voters Go To Polls On Primary Season's Busiest Day Yet

Originally published on Tue May 20, 2014 8:16 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

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Politics
4:40 pm
Thu May 15, 2014

After Nearly 50 Years In Office, Conyers Might Not Make The Ballot

Originally published on Sun May 18, 2014 3:11 pm

A local elections official has ruled that Rep. John Conyers of Detroit, who's served in the House for nearly 50 years, has failed to collect enough valid signatures to appear on the Democratic primary ballot. He's appealing the decision; if he loses, it could be an ignominious end to a distinguished career.

Politics
6:17 pm
Tue May 6, 2014

Gaffe Breathes New Life Into Iowa Senate Race

Iowa Republican state Sen. Joni Ernst debates fellow U.S. Senate candidate Mark Jacobs, a retired CEO, in April.
Charlie Neibergall AP

Originally published on Tue May 6, 2014 9:04 pm

This year, Iowa will elect a new U.S. senator, thanks to the retirement of five-term Democrat Tom Harkin.

For a time, this was a seat Democrats didn't think they needed to worry about; Rep. Bruce Braley was considered the favorite to win the seat in November.

Thanks to a serious gaffe, though, the seat looks to be in play. Now, five Republican hopefuls, none well-known statewide, are all racing toward the June primary.

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Politics
4:22 pm
Fri April 25, 2014

Politicians Get Personal With Memorable Early Campaign Ads

Dr. Monica Wehby, a Republican U.S. Senate candidate in Oregon, appears in the much-talked-about campaign ad "Trust."
Dr. Monica Wehby Senate campaign

Originally published on Fri April 25, 2014 7:15 pm

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Race
6:44 am
Fri April 11, 2014

Obama, Bush Mark Passage Of 1964 Civil Rights Act

Originally published on Fri April 11, 2014 7:37 am

Barack Obama and George W. Bush, two U.S. presidents with little in common in terms of policy, personal style and politics, each paid tribute to the legacy of President Lyndon Johnson.

News
4:08 pm
Thu April 10, 2014

Austin Hosts Presidents Past And Present To Honor Civil Rights

Originally published on Thu April 10, 2014 8:12 pm

President Obama is in Austin, Texas, honoring the legacy of President Lyndon Johnson and the Civil Rights Act of 1964. He's one of four U.S. presidents to appear at a civil rights summit this week.

Politics
5:39 pm
Thu April 3, 2014

For Political Conventions, Another Balloon Bursts

President Obama stands on stage with Vice President Biden and their families after accepting the party nomination during the final day of the 2012 Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C.
Alex Wong Getty Images

Originally published on Thu April 3, 2014 7:34 pm

There's news today about the 2016 presidential campaign that has nothing to do with the growing list of would-be candidates with White House aspirations.

It's about the big nominating conventions the Democrats and Republicans hold every four years. Legislation the president signed Thursday afternoon means those huge political extravaganzas will no longer receive millions of dollars in taxpayer support. It's not the only change that's likely for conventions.

Let's start with a little time travel:

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News
4:30 pm
Tue April 1, 2014

GM Ignition Switch Controversy Comes To Capitol Hill

Originally published on Tue April 1, 2014 7:58 pm

General Motors CEO Mary T. Barra testified on Capitol Hill Tuesday, speaking before a House panel that is investigating how the company handled problems with its vehicles' ignition switch.

It's All Politics
5:07 am
Mon March 17, 2014

Google Glass: Coming Soon To A Campaign Trail Near You

Campaign workers and other political operatives are trying to find ways to use Google Glass on the campaign trail.
Frederic J. Brown AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon March 17, 2014 11:59 am

Google Glass is looking to be the next must-have digital device. The small computer you wear like eyeglasses allows you to surf the Web, email, text, take photos, shoot and stream live video and more — hands-free.

For now Google Glass is in very limited release, but even so, political professionals are eagerly exploring how it could become a powerful campaign tool.

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Politics
11:31 am
Sat March 8, 2014

CPAC Is A Siren Call To GOP Presidential Hopefuls

At CPAC this year, even Sen. Rand Paul's cardboard cutout was drawing attention. The Kentucky lawmaker was leading in the straw poll among attendees Friday.
Jim Lo Scalzo EPA/Landov

Originally published on Sat March 8, 2014 2:00 pm

Start with a big ballroom at a resort hotel just outside D.C. Add thousands of conservative activists. Stir in hundreds of political journalists, and you've got an irresistible attraction for any Republican presidential hopeful.

For those with their eye on the Oval Office, it's also an early audition before a key audience.

It's the annual Conservative Political Action Conference — CPAC for short — where there's always talk of the next presidential election. This year as many as 10 possible 2016 candidates were invited to speak during the three-day event.

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Politics
4:01 pm
Fri February 28, 2014

Dingell Dynasty Could Continue In Michigan

Originally published on Fri February 28, 2014 10:35 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

87-year-old John Dingell, the longest-serving member in the history of Congress, retires at the end of his current term. When he goes, another Dingell hopes to win his seat. Today, in the city of Dearborn, in the heart of Michigan's 12th district, Debbie Dingell, the congressman's wife, announced her candidacy. NPR national political correspondent Don Gonyea reports.

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Politics
4:05 pm
Fri February 21, 2014

Texan's Final Campaign May Act As National Barometer

Originally published on Fri February 21, 2014 7:53 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

In northeast Texas, from the Dallas suburbs to Texarkana, Republican Ralph Hall is seeking an 18th term in Congress. Hall is 90 years old and the oldest member of Congress. At a time of deep voter anger with Washington, Hall's long incumbency and his age have drawn a crowded field of primary challengers. He's assuring his constituents that it will be his last campaign, but if there's an anti-incumbent wave building, his east Texas district may be an early barometer.

NPR national political correspondent Don Gonyea reports.

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Business
4:12 pm
Tue February 18, 2014

Dealt A Recent Defeat, Union Organizers Plot A Future In The South

Originally published on Tue February 18, 2014 7:58 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

The United Auto Workers Union suffered a major defeat when a drive to represent workers at a Volkswagen plant in Tennessee failed last week. Right now, leaders of the AFL-CIO are holding their winter meetings in Houston and that VW vote is a major topic.

NPR national political correspondent Don Gonyea has more.

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Politics
6:04 am
Sat February 8, 2014

Bidding Starts Early For Site Of Obama's Future Library

Presidents past and present were on hand for the opening ceremony for the George W. Bush Presidential Center in Dallas in April 2013.
Kevork Djansezian AP

Originally published on Wed February 12, 2014 1:43 pm

President Obama doesn't leave office until January of 2017, but already the competition has begun for the right to host his presidential library and museum.

A new foundation has been set up to raise money and to begin the site selection process, and there are already bids in the works from Chicago, Honolulu and elsewhere.

A Tradition Of Archives

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Politics
10:04 am
Sat January 25, 2014

Eyes On 2016, GOP Revisits The Rebranding

Mike Huckabee, left, sits with RNC Chairman Reince Priebus before Huckabee spoke at the Republican National Committee winter meeting in Washington on Thursday,
Susan Walsh AP

Originally published on Sat January 25, 2014 12:14 pm

Republican Party leaders gathered in Washington this week for their annual winter meetings. They approved new rules for the 2016 presidential primaries designed to create a more orderly path to the GOP nomination — and, the party hopes, to the White House.

But this week's meeting also provided an opportunity to see how far Republicans have come in an effort begun a year ago to reach out to new voters — especially young people, minorities and women.

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Politics
6:19 pm
Fri January 24, 2014

An Unconventional Contender Emerges As GOP Ponders 2016 Convention

Visitors crowd the Las Vegas Strip to celebrate the new year.
Glenn Pinkerton AP

Originally published on Fri January 24, 2014 7:29 pm

Every four years a handful of cities battle to host the big nominating conventions for the major political parties. The competition for 2016 has already begun, with a surprising and aggressive player making a bid for the Republican National Convention: Las Vegas.

Certainly it's a place that knows how to host a big convention, but for the GOP to give Vegas the nod, the party will have to look past the city's well-earned reputation as "Sin City."

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It's All Politics
4:35 pm
Tue December 24, 2013

Amid Declining Popularity, The Tea Party Prepares To Fight

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) greets supporters during a tea party rally in front of the U.S. Capitol in June. Paul was a rising star in the tea party movement this year, filibustering a CIA nomination in March.
Mark Wilson Getty Images

Originally published on Tue December 24, 2013 8:02 pm

It's easy to forget that the tea party movement is still less than 5 years old. Its successes include the 2010 midterm elections, when it helped the GOP win back the U.S. House.

It was once again a noisy and resurgent player in American politics in 2013. But that doesn't mean it was a year of victories: The movement's campaign to repeal Obamacare failed, and public approval hit near-record lows after the tea party forced a partial government shutdown. Even tea party events aren't as large as they once were.

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