Sept. 5, 2015 SIGN IN | REGISTER

Kentucky - 5th District

Incumbent -- Harold Rogers (R) ; Running for re-election

Safe Republican
Race Ratings Key

CQ Politics rates this race as "Safe," meaning the incumbent party is virtually certain to win the seat.


District Information

District Profile from Politics in America

The rural 5th, which takes in eastern Kentucky's hardscrabble coal country, has struggled with poverty, undereducation and a lack of economic diversity. The district has the nation's highest percentage of white residents (96 percent) and its second-lowest median household income.

Mining provides thousands of jobs in this sparsely populated Appalachian region, particularly in places such as Pike, Perry, Harlan and Knott counties. The region's coal industry has come under increased federal scrutiny regarding safety measures and the environmental impact of mountaintop removal, and these eastern counties are trying to diversify their economies and increase the number of residents active in the workforce. Some community leaders are trying to attract tourists by highlighting the area's country music heritage, building new arts centers and showcasing the area's coal history.

Population in the western portion of the district is concentrated in Pulaski and Laurel counties. Somerset, in Pulaski, relies heavily on tourism and recreation. Lake Cumberland is nearby, as is the Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area. The Daniel Boone National Forest extends from Rowan County in the north to the Tennessee border.

Methamphetamine abuse, a major problem in surrounding states, has become an issue in the 5th, but groups are attempting to improve local public awareness and drug enforcement efforts. Education also is a concern, as the 5th has the state's lowest percentage (11 percent) of residents with at least a bachelor's degree.

The 5th is secure GOP territory -- no Democrat has represented the southeast Kentucky district since 1889. Republicans run particularly well in the more populous central and western areas. In 2008, John McCain carried the 5th with 67 percent of the presidential vote, his highest percentage statewide, and Jackson County was his best in the state. Democrat Barack Obama won three counties in the district's north.

Major Industry

Coal, service, tourism


Somerset, 11,196; Middlesborough, 10,334


Colonel Harland Sanders began making what would later be known as Kentucky Fried Chicken at his service station in Corbin.




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