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.

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

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

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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DAVID GREENE, HOST:

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.

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

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STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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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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:

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DON GONYEA, HOST:

Call it the first official contest of the 2016 presidential campaign. Sure, the election's a couple of years away. Nevertheless, we have a pair of finalists. They are cities hoping to host the Republican National Convention two summers from now. In this corner, Dallas, Texas.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "BIG D")

FRANK LOESSER: (Singing)You're from Big D. My, oh, yes. I mean, big D, little A, double L, A, S.

GONYEA: And the other contender, hailing from the shores of Lake Erie...

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "BURN ON")

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.

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.

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.

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.

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AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

You'll hear this all the time in news stories about politics. At a certain point a political analyst or pundit is quoted offering insight. Maybe they're university professors with expertise on an issue or on candidates in their region of the country. So what happens when one of those go-to experts removes their pundit hat and becomes a candidate? NPR's Don Gonyea has one such story and he gets some well-known pundits to comment.

The ex-presidential candidate is on the campaign trail, picking winners in a number of key primaries. He says his goal is to help the GOP have a great 2014, including seizing control of the Senate.

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.

Sen. Mitch McConnell is seeking a sixth term, and he easily beat a Tea Party challenger in Tuesday's primary. In November, he faces Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes, Kentucky's secretary of state.

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.

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.

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:

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.

It is one of those primary tenets of the Republican party: a strong, robust, well-funded military and the willingness to deploy it are a critical part of national security.

But Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, who speaks to activists at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) Thursday, has long felt it's time to re-examine that approach.

In less than four years in the Senate, Paul has emerged as a prominent new face of the GOP and a contender for the 2016 presidential nomination. But his libertarian philosophy sets him apart from the rest of the field.

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