In AP Style, relevance should be your guide in whether or not to include party affiliation in a certain story.
In some stories, party affiliation is irrelevant. For instance, a senator reading a book to a group of children. In other stories, party affiliation will naturally occur. For instance, two senators that are vying for a single senate seat.
For those stories that do not fall into either of these two categories, include party affiliation if the reader needs it for understanding or is likely to be curious about the party affiliation.
When it is appropriate to list a party designation, use any of these approaches as logical in constructing a strory:
- Republican Sen. Rand Paul said…
- Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., said…
- Sen. Rand Paul also spoke. The Kentucky Republican said…
- Rep. Charlie Rangel, the senior Democrat on the House Ways and Means Committee, said he does not support the amendment.
For stories that are about specific party meetings, for instance the Democratic National Convention, no specific reference to party affiliation is needed, unless the individual mentioned in not a member of the party in question.
Set off short forms such as R-Ky. off from a name by commas. For example,
- Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., said he supports the measure.
Use R- for Republicans, D- for Democrats, and I- for Independents. For example,
- Sen. Joseph Lieberman, I-Conn., spoke with Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich.
Form for U.S. House Members
It is customary for U.S. House members to be identified by party and state. In contexts where state affiliation is clear and home city is relevant (such as a state election roundup), identify representatives by party and city. For example,
- U.S. Reps. Peter Hoekstra, R-Holland and Bill Huizenga, R-Zeeland.
When this option is used, it is important to stay consistent throughout your story.
Form for State Legislators
Short-form listings showing party and home city are appropriate in state stories. For national stories, the customary practice is to say that the individual is a Republican or a Democrat. Use a short-form listing only if the legislator’s home city is relevant.