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 for 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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3:25pm

Thu November 13, 2014
It's All Politics

Is The Election Over Yet?

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

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

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

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5:23pm

Thu October 30, 2014
Politics

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.

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4:46pm

Thu October 16, 2014
Politics

Senate Race Delivers A Surprise Jolt To Conservative South Dakota

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

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

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.

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8:47am

Fri October 10, 2014
It's All Politics

Ducking Social Issues, GOP Struggles To Keep Conservatives Close

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

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

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.

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6:39am

Tue September 30, 2014
Politics

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

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

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

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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