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
12:07 pm
Mon November 4, 2013

Veteran Pennsylvania Congressman Can't Escape GOP Civil War

From left, Rep. Lee Terry, R-Neb., Rep. Bill Shuster, R-Pa., and House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., walk to the floor of the House for the final series of votes on a bill to fund the government, in Washington on Sept. 28.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Mon November 4, 2013 5:26 pm

At 7 a.m. on a recent weekday morning, the Bedford Diner, in Bedford, Pa., is jumping.

Way in the back, some tables have been pushed together for a weekly prayer breakfast that's really a gathering of old friends — all military veterans, some of whom are retired. Art Halvorson, a 58-year-old regular here, is a real estate developer, a former career coast guard pilot and now a Tea Party-backed candidate going after seven-term Rep. Bill Shuster in next year's Republican primary.

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Politics
4:37 am
Mon November 4, 2013

Rep. Shuster To Face Tea Party Challenger Next Year

Originally published on Mon November 4, 2013 12:07 pm

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Now, during the government shutdown, many House Republicans said the policy was unwise, but persisted for weeks in voting with their speaker, John Boehner. One reason was party loyalty. Another reason, according to analysts, was fear. Lawmakers did not want to run the risk of a challenge in a Republican primary from candidates saying they weren't trying hard enough.

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Politics
5:39 pm
Fri October 18, 2013

Tea Party Activist: It Was Worth 'Getting In The Ring'

Sal Russo of the Tea Party Express speaks at the National Press Club in 2011. Russo predicts the Tea Party will be re-energized for the 2014 midterm elections.
Alex Brandon AP

Originally published on Fri October 18, 2013 10:09 pm

It's been a tough week for the Tea Party and its supporters in Congress. The Affordable Care Act survived the Capitol Hill standoff largely untouched. President Obama and the Democrats stared them down and won. And fights with establishment Republicans revealed the depth of division within the GOP.

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Politics
4:03 am
Fri October 18, 2013

Obamacare Fight Leads Sen. Roberts To Turn Against Old Friend Sebelius

Kathleen Sebelius stands with Sen. Pat Roberts (right), R-Kan., and former Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole in 2009.
Susan Walsh AP

Originally published on Fri October 18, 2013 1:28 pm

This month's government shutdown grew out of Republicans' insistence on a budget that defunded the Affordable Care Act.

That didn't happen, but Republicans still detest the law — and now there's a movement underway to oust Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.

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It's All Politics
5:39 pm
Wed October 2, 2013

GOP Establishment Grapples With A Tea Party That Won't Budge

Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., is among the Republicans who want to pass a spending bill not tied to defunding or delaying the Affordable Care Act.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Wed October 2, 2013 7:56 pm

The old line in Washington is that the "establishment" controls everything.

But the fights that have resulted in the government shutdown have turned that cliche upside down.

This time, it's the Tea Party and its allies in Congress calling the shots. The "establishment" — on Capitol Hill and in the business community — has so far been on the outs.

You can hear the frustration in the voice of 11-term Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., as he runs a gantlet of reporters at the Capitol.

"I'm just more concerned about there not being a clean CR," he says amid the hubbub.

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It's All Politics
5:04 pm
Thu September 26, 2013

Tea Party Strains GOP's Ties To Big Business

Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, speaks at a Sept. 10 Capitol Hill rally against Obamacare.
Drew Angerer Getty Images

Originally published on Thu September 26, 2013 6:10 pm

Is the GOP still the "party of business"?

With the party's long-standing and ongoing push for lower taxes and fewer regulations — both in Washington and in state legislatures — Republicans can reasonably make that claim.

Yet some of the congressional Republican rhetoric in the battle over a continuing resolution, the debt ceiling and defunding Obamacare makes it clear that there's a significant amount of tension between the party and the business community.

Much of the strong language comes from the Tea Party and its friends on Capitol Hill.

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Politics
5:12 am
Thu September 26, 2013

Not All Republicans Embrace Big Business All The Time

The Republican Party in the past has had a close relationship with Wall Street and big business. But lately there's growing tension and disagreement as some Republicans in Congress consider a possible government shutdown. The Tea Party seems to have the strongest criticism of big business.

Politics
5:11 am
Tue September 10, 2013

Tea Party Won't Let Congress Forget Obamacare Issues

Originally published on Tue September 10, 2013 7:08 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And I'm Renee Montagne. Congress did not expect to spend September debating Syria. Many Republicans, instead, were planning battles over the budget and over the healthcare law that's about to take affect. Tea Party activists are going ahead with meetings on their issues. One event comes in Washington D.C. today. NPR's Don Gonyea has been talking with activists.

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News
4:49 pm
Sun July 14, 2013

The Civil Rights Stand Of A Young Gerald Ford

President Gerald Ford finishes giving a speech on Jan. 13, 1975. Ford was born 100 years ago Sunday.
Marion S. Trikosko Courtesy of Library of Congress

Originally published on Sun July 14, 2013 6:54 pm

President Gerald R. Ford, the only American to serve as both vice president and president without ever being elected to either office, was born 100 years ago Sunday.

Ford will be remembered for his role in the turbulent post-Watergate era. But a little-known story from his college days might also serve to define Ford's character.

The Gerald Ford We Know

In 1973, Ford was a congressman from Grand Rapids, Mich., who had risen through the ranks to become House minority leader. In those days before C-SPAN, Ford was barely known to most Americans.

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It's All Politics
5:51 pm
Tue July 2, 2013

Obama Campaigners Try To Get Texas Fired Up For Democrats

Battleground Texas staff members and volunteers work around a table in a small backroom of the Travis County Democratic Office in Austin on April 24. Battleground Texas is an effort by veterans of the Obama campaign to take what they learned electing and re-electing a president and try to turn Texas blue.
Rodolfo Gonzalez MCT/Landov

Originally published on Tue July 2, 2013 8:12 pm

All this week, NPR is taking a look at the demographic changes that could reshape the political landscape in Texas over the next decade — and what that could mean for the rest of the country.

For most of the 20th century, Texas was a stronghold for Democrats. But Republicans have dominated the state for decades now.

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Politics
4:45 am
Tue July 2, 2013

Texas Democrats See Opportunity In Changing Demographics

Originally published on Tue July 2, 2013 8:36 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

All week, we are looking at demographic changes in the currently very red, very Republican Lone Star state. Democrats hope the growing size and potential voting clout of the Latin population will turn Texas blue.

Whether that happens or not, the Texas Democratic Party already bears little resemblance to what it looked like when it last dominated Texas politics decades ago.

NPR's Don Gonyea brings us the latest in our series Texas 2020.

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It's All Politics
5:25 am
Sat June 8, 2013

WWII Vets Have All But Vanished From The Halls Of Congress

Military pallbearers carry the coffin of the late New Jersey Sen. Frank Lautenberg into the Senate chamber on Thursday. He was the only remaining World War II veteran in the Senate.
Douglas Graham AP

Originally published on Sun June 9, 2013 5:39 am

Sen. Frank Lautenberg was buried with military honors at Arlington National Cemetery on Friday. There was a steady rain. Soldiers fired rifle volleys, a bugler played taps and mourners paid their final respects.

The New Jersey Democrat was 89 when he died this week — and his death marked a somber milestone.

For the first time since the end of World War II, there are no veterans of that war in the U.S. Senate. Lautenberg had been the only one remaining.

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Politics
3:35 am
Wed May 15, 2013

IRS Inquiries Crossed The Line, Tea Party Groups Say

Originally published on Wed May 15, 2013 9:51 am

Tea Party activists are calling for a full investigation, and possibly lawsuits, following revelations that the Internal Revenue Service flagged so-called patriot groups for extra scrutiny in applications for federal tax-exempt status.

Among those claiming unjust and unconstitutional targeting by the IRS is a group called TheTeaParty.net, which bills itself as the largest grass-roots conservative Tea Party organization in the country.

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It's All Politics
3:04 am
Thu May 2, 2013

How Will Obama Make His Case On Syria?

President Obama speaks at a news conference Tuesday. He addressed the use of chemical weapons in Syria and said he's weighing his options.
Alex Wong Getty Images

Originally published on Thu May 2, 2013 10:09 am

The U.S. role in the civil war in Syria has been limited to humanitarian aid and nonlethal equipment for the rebels. But that may change with recent revelations about the use of chemical weapons.

Polls show that Americans are still not paying close attention to the conflict, but there is a reluctance to intervene — a byproduct of the experience in Iraq.

President Obama says he's weighing all options. Whatever he decides, he'll have to make a case to the U.S. public.

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Around the Nation
5:17 am
Fri April 26, 2013

Presidents Overlook Differences At Bush Center Opening

Originally published on Fri April 26, 2013 6:59 pm

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

The president's appearance at that memorial service came on the same day he joined with all his living predecessors. He met with Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush, whose presidential library was dedicated in Texas.

A photograph, sent out on Twitter incidentally, by former President Clinton, shows the five men in a circle, chatting. Three Democrats joined two Republicans on a day when political differences were overlooked.

Here's NPR national political correspondent Don Gonyea.

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It's All Politics
5:09 am
Sat April 13, 2013

Immigration Debate Puts Farm Workers Union In Spotlight

United Farm Workers members were among the crowd that filled the lawn on Capitol Hill during an immigration rights rally Wednesday.
Jacquelyn Martin AP

Originally published on Sat April 13, 2013 9:58 pm

A new immigration bill is expected to be introduced in the U.S. Senate next week, calling for better border security and a path to citizenship for 11 million immigrants in the United States without legal status.

One big hurdle toward that was cleared this week when the United Farm Workers reached a deal with growers that would address wages and caps the number of visas allowed for new workers.

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The Two-Way
12:06 pm
Tue March 26, 2013

Outside the Supreme Court, The Arguments Continue

A member of the New York Hispanic Clergy Organization (right) is confronted by a pro-gay-marriage activist outside the Supreme Court on Tuesday.
Karen Bleier AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed March 27, 2013 5:58 pm

As oral arguments were beginning Tuesday in the first of two same-sex marriage cases inside the Supreme Court, the steps in front of the court were filled with throngs of what looked to be mostly gay-marriage supporters, spilling out in front of the building and to the other side of the street.

About a half hour earlier, a parade of traditional-marriage supporters had arrived, later headed to a rally on the National Mall.

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Politics
5:26 am
Thu March 14, 2013

Controversies Over CPAC Reflect GOP's Woes

Originally published on Thu March 14, 2013 9:34 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And I'm Renee Montagne.

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Politics
5:16 am
Fri March 1, 2013

Why Republicans Are Out Of Step With Young Voters

Originally published on Fri March 1, 2013 10:16 am

Republican Party Chairman Reince Priebus has begun a series of meetings with groups that have overwhelmingly gone Democratic in the past two presidential elections.

He's sitting down with Latino and Asian voters and with young people across the country. The youth group is of particular concern to the GOP because voting habits established at this stage could last a lifetime.

College students at Ohio State University were eager to talk about the state of the GOP brand. The class is called American Political Parties.

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Music Interviews
5:32 am
Sat February 23, 2013

The Man In Black Goes To The County Fair

Gonyea's copy of Johnny Cash's Rockabilly Blues, signed by the man himself.
NPR

Originally published on Sat February 23, 2013 10:26 pm

I started out in radio more than 30 years ago. My first job right out of college was as a country-western DJ at WVMO, my hometown radio station in Monroe, Mich.

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It's All Politics
11:52 am
Sat February 16, 2013

College Republicans Offer GOP Advice For Winning Over Their Generation

Ohio State College Republicans await Mitt Romney's son, Craig, who canvassed with them in Columbus last October.
Courtesy College Republicans at The Ohio State University

Originally published on Sat February 16, 2013 11:59 am

During President Obama's State of the Union address this week, 14 members of the College Republicans at Ohio State University gathered in a meeting room at their student union on campus in Columbus, Ohio.

The president's speech, which they watched on a giant flat-screen TV, was punctuated with groans, rebuttal, criticisms and sarcasm from this young audience. These students worked hard, to no avail, to deliver the much prized battleground state of Ohio to Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney.

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It's All Politics
5:27 am
Sat January 26, 2013

For GOP Comeback, Leaders Urge Stepped-Up Outreach

RNC Chairman Reince Priebus, shown at the Republican National Convention in August, has been re-elected to another two-year term.
Mark Wilson Getty Images

Originally published on Sat January 26, 2013 5:36 pm

In their first big party gathering since Election Day, Republican leaders from around the country met in Charlotte, N.C., this week.

The GOP is promising a great deal of change in advance of the next election, but one area where there will be no change for the party is in its leadership. Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus was elected to another two-year term.

In his acceptance speech, he cited a simple reason why Republicans failed to win the White House and lost seats in the House and Senate in November.

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It's All Politics
4:32 pm
Thu January 24, 2013

At Winter Gathering, GOP Asks: Where Do We Go From Here?

Reince Priebus, shown at the Republican National Convention in August, says Republicans need to "grow our party without compromising our principles."
Stan Honda AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu January 24, 2013 5:22 pm

Some soul-searching is on the agenda as the Republican National Committee holds its winter meetings in Charlotte, N.C.

November's elections were a big disappointment for the GOP. The party has now lost the popular vote in five of the past six presidential elections.

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It's All Politics
3:32 am
Fri January 18, 2013

Latino Voters Urge Obama To Keep Immigration Promise

Originally published on Fri January 18, 2013 9:35 am

Latino voters were a key to President Obama's victory in November, turning out in big numbers and supporting Obama by more than 2 to 1 over Republican Mitt Romney.

Now, many of those voters say it's time for Obama to do something he did not do in his first term: push hard for and sign a comprehensive immigration overhaul.

Let's start with a group of Latinos — young and old, some U.S. citizens, some not — heading from Florida to Washington, D.C., for Obama's inauguration and for meetings with members of Congress. As caravans go, it's a small one: 13 people in two vans.

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It's All Politics
6:50 pm
Thu January 10, 2013

For Young Republican, Defying Boehner In Washington Plays Well Back Home

Republican House Speaker John Boehner administers the oath of office to Amash during a mock swearing-in ceremony on Jan. 5, 2011, at the start of Amash's first term.
Jacquelyn Martin AP

When the rumored rebellion against House Speaker John Boehner's bid for a second term played out last week, the very first Republican to not vote for Boehner was Rep. Justin Amash, R-Mich., just three names into the alphabetical roll call.

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Politics
2:57 am
Fri December 7, 2012

Tea Party May Be Losing Steam, But Issues Still Boil

Originally published on Fri December 7, 2012 9:56 am

The battle over how to avoid the looming cuts and tax increases known as the fiscal cliff is a frustrating one for the Tea Party. The movement is still a force within the GOP, even as its popularity has fallen over the past two years.

But in the current debate, there have been no big rallies in Washington, and Tea Party members in Congress seem resigned to the fact that any eventual deal will be one they won't like — and one they'll have little influence over.

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It's All Politics
5:15 pm
Fri November 30, 2012

Rice Controversy Raises Ayotte's Profile

Sen. Kelly Ayotte, joined by Sen. Lindsey Graham and Sen. John McCain, discusses the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, on Capitol Hill earlier this month.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Fri November 30, 2012 6:44 pm

Freshman Sen. Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire has been standing side by side with colleagues John McCain of Arizona and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina in questioning the Obama administration's version of events about the deadly attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, in September.

It is just the latest in a series of high-profile moments for Ayotte, who is seen as a rising star in a party struggling to win female voters.

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Election 2012
8:45 am
Tue November 6, 2012

Update From Ohio: Ballot Dispute

Originally published on Tue November 6, 2012 12:18 pm

Ohio is possibly the most important state in this presidential race. A challenge over early voting there has turned into a dispute over provisional ballots.

It's All Politics
4:06 am
Mon November 5, 2012

America's Changing Face Presents Challenges For The GOP

Voters cast their ballots during the first day of early voting at the Meadows Mall on Oct. 20 in Las Vegas, Nev.
David Becker Getty Images

Originally published on Mon November 5, 2012 10:07 am

The final days of an election cycle bring an obsession with the short term — the very short term. Daily tracking polls. A relentless get-it, post-it, blog-it news cycle. Trending topics on Twitter telling us something (though it's not always clear what).

But for just a moment, let's slow it down, look at what's happening over a somewhat longer time frame, and see what it tells us about what the country will look like for the winner of the presidential race.

The Long View

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Presidential Race
5:25 pm
Wed October 31, 2012

In Context: Mitt Romney, Ohio And The Auto Bailout

Originally published on Wed October 31, 2012 6:53 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

It's ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Audie Cornish.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

I'm Robert Siegel.

And in the presidential race this week, the focus in the pivotal state of Ohio has been on the federal bailout of General Motors and Chrysler. President Obama backed it. Mitt Romney opposed it, and the Romney campaign is running some controversial ads on the subject in Ohio.

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