A reporter inquires about the way we refer to U.S. Sen. Benjamin L. Cardin, because his staff says that he prefers to be known as plain old Ben Cardin. (He's running for re-election.) Can we do that? Sure. We're easy. We accommodated Jimmy Carter and Bob Dole, so Ben Cardin should be no strain.
Our practice at The Baltimore Sun is to refer to people by the names they choose to use for public purposes. So we indulge k.d. lang and bell hooks in their typographical eccentricities* as well as just-plain-folks seekers of public office. Sometimes people change their names formally for purposes of being listed on the ballot, as did American Joe Miedusiewski, a former Maryland state senator. We go along with that, too.