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Sen. Kennedy commissions poll, considers run for governor

The poll showed Kennedy leading with 21.7% of the vote in a potential nine-candidate field.

NEW ORLEANS — Louisiana U.S. Senator John Kennedy wasn't talking about running for governor last Tuesday night. 

He told reporters, "I am so happy to be re-elected to the United States Senate. That is the only thing tonight that I've got on my mind."

But, the very next day, Kennedy commissioned a poll to see where he stood.  

The poll showed Kennedy leading with 21.7% of the vote in a potential nine-candidate field.

He was followed by Democrat Shawn Wilson, the state transportation secretary, with 18.2%, Attorney General Jeff Landry with 12.8%, and Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser with nearly 7 percent. 

"Obviously, it changes things," Nungesser said. 

Nungesser says he plans to take a poll of his own next month, then announce whether he plans to run for governor in early January. 

We asked him if he has a path to victory with Kennedy in the race. 

"I don't know," Nungesser said. We'd have to look at the poll and see. If not, I'll run for re-election, and hopefully, the people of Louisiana will have me again."

State Treasurer John Schroder also plans to announce whether he'll be a candidate after the first of the year. 

"I don't get so wrapped up in polls," Schroder said. "I think the history of this state has shown, politics has shown, you just never know in elections."

State Senator Sharon Hewitt, R-Slidell says Kennedy potentially getting into the governor's race has no bearing on whether she decides to run. 

"For me, it's looking at the best way I can serve the people," Hewitt said. "Of course, I could run again for the Senate, or I could consider a statewide office. I'm getting a lot of encouragement to consider running for governor."

Monday, Senator Kennedy released a statement saying in part, "Over the last year, Louisianians have asked me time and time again to come home to serve as governor during these difficult times. Becky and I love the people of Louisiana. We've always listened to them, so I am giving serious consideration to entering the governor's race. I'll be announcing my decision soon."

"He has flirted with running for governor in the last 5 election cycles but never gone to the post," WWL-TV Political Analyst Clancy DuBos said. "It's now or never for John Kennedy."

The Louisiana GOP has already endorsed Attorney General Jeff Landry for governor. 

In a statement, Landry said, "Having the official endorsement of our party is a big deal, and it means we can combine forces and grow a campaign and party infrastructure across this state."    

We also reached out to Transportation Secretary Shawn Wilson. 

He did not get back to us in time for this report. 

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