Grace Notes: Senator-popularity ranking hints that David Vitter made the right call _lowres

Former U.S. Sen. David Vitter

Former U.S. Sen. David Vitter has returned to practicing law, joining the New Orleans office of a firm with a focus on energy issues.

Butler Snow said Tuesday the Republican former senator has joined its team of lawyers. Donald Clark Jr., firm chairman, touted Vitter's background in politics and policy work as valuable to the company.

Vitter also will keep his lobbying job as vice chairman of public affairs with Mercury LLC, working both in Washington and Louisiana.

In joining Butler Snow, Vitter will be working alongside one of the people he championed while in office: former U.S. Attorney Jim Letten. Vitter had pushed for Letten's initial, appointment under President George W. Bush, and successfully lobbied for him to remain in his position after President Barack Obama's election. 

An Ivy League-educated lawyer, Vitter was a state representative before being elected to Congress, where he served for more than five years in the U.S. House before moving up to the Senate. Vitter left the Senate in January after two terms and 25 years in elected office. He didn't seek re-election to the Senate after his unsuccessful 2015 campaign for governor.

Vitter was widely considered a shoo-in as Louisiana's governor prior to the 2015 election. But the campaign, described by The Advocate as "a savage war among the Republican candidates," ended in an upset by John Bel Edwards, a Democrat.

Vitter is credited with helping devise a blueprint that sped Louisiana's shift to Republican control in state politics. He pioneered the strategy to link local Democrats to the national, and much less popular, Democratic Party. Vitter authored the legislative term limits constitutional amendment, passed in 1995. A dozen years later, when the term limits kicked in, Vitter served as the driving force to make both the House and Senate Republican-majority, throwing his support behind Republican candidates and convincing conservative Democrats to switch or face Republican opposition.

Butler Snow has more than 330 attorneys in 22 U.S. offices and offices in London and Singapore.