March 23, 2016 12:14 PM

From left: Derrick Edwards, Josh Pellerin and Troy Hebert
As well defined as the field is becoming for the U.S. Senate race this fall, there are still some politicos sitting on the fence who could influence the contest.

The latest is Abhay Patel, an economic development professional from New Orleans who is being encouraged to run. The LSU grad is a former Wall Street investment banker who at one time raised in excess of $30 billion for transactions like Hertz’ acquisition of Dollar Thrifty.

Patel, a Republican, would be a first-time candidate. He’s currently the vice president of business development for the New Orleans Business Alliance.

There’s also quadriplegic activist and attorney Derrick Edwards, likewise from New Orleans, who is officially a candidate and is only starting to campaign.

Meanwhile, Democrat Josh Pellerin, president and CEO of Pellerin Energy Group, has engaged a firm to file his federal paperwork for a run in the U.S. Senate race, according to sources familiar with his developing campaign.

Key staff, including a fundraising consultant, are being lined up as well. He could self-fund his bid if needed, but has some high-profile friends. During Washington Mardi Gras, Pellerin personally met with President Barack Obama.

State Rep. Paul Hollis, R-Mandeville, is thinking about it, as is GOP Public Service Commissioner Eric Skrmetta of Metairie and Democratic state Sen. Gary Smith Jr. of St. Charles Parish.

On the Democratic side, Public Service Commissioner Foster Campbell and Denham Springs attorney Caroline Fayard have announced.

On the Republican side, Treasurer John Kennedy, Congressman Charles Boustany, Congressman John Fleming, Retired Air Force Col. Rob Maness and former Congressman Joseph Cao, a Republican, of New Orleans are candidates.

Former legislator Troy Hebert, who would run with no party affiliation, is expected to run as well.