The hilly rural 18th District in eastern Ohio has a history of economic problems but more recently has garnered national attention for its representative's alleged involvement in a national corruption scandal.
The area has voted mostly Democratic but in the last two decades, support for Republican candidates has grown. President George W. Bush won in the district twice, with 55 percent of the vote in 2000 and 57 percent in 2004.
Democrats represented the district for 46 years until Bob Ney's election in 1994.
Ney's close ties to convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff have given Democrats hope to win back the seat. But despite the scandal, Ney remains popular in the district where he has built a "personal constituency," according to Herb Asher at Ohio State University. In his last election in 2004, Ney won again with 66 percent of the vote.
The area was settled in the 1790s by Virginians who set up small factory and mining towns and used the local clay for pottery. As coals mines and factories shut down, the district suffered severe job losses.
In 2006, it still suffers from major economic problems, and creating and protecting jobs will be a major campaign topic.
The region also is home to the world's largest concentration of Amish in Holmes, Tuscarawas and Wayne counties.
Re-districting in 2002 added seven new counties and transferred the counties along the Ohio River to the 6th District, a change that boosted the Republican hold in the area. The current 15 counties in the district make up a large part of mideastern Ohio. Census data from 2000 recorded 630,730 people living in its borders.