The current 5th congressional district is one of the few ancestrally Republican regions south of the Ohio River. Much of the region now in the district strongly supported the Union in the Civil War, and identified with the Republicans after hostilities ceased. Much of the eastern portion of the district was once part of the disbanded 7th congressional district, long a Democratic stronghold. The 7th district was disbanded in 1992 after the 1990 census showed that the state's population could no longer support seven districts. Geographically, the district consists of flat land areas to the west, to Appalachia highland mountains to the east and southeast. To the north to northeast of the district are rolling hills that end at the Ohio River.
The district is currently represented by Republican Harold D. "Hal" Rogers, the dean of the Kentucky delegation. Congressman Rogers currently serves in various top leadership positions in the U.S. House of Representatives.
As of September 2013, there were 510,329 registered voters: 253,798 (49.73%) Democrats, 235,470 (46.14%) Republicans, and 21,061 (4.13%) "Others". All of the "Others" included 15,344 (3.01%) unclassified Others, 5,385 (1.06%) Independents, 241 (0.05%) Libertarians, 43 (0.0084%) Greens, 21 (0.0041%) Constitutionalists, 20 (0.0039%) Reforms, and 7 (0.0014%) Socialist Workers.
Until January 1, 2006, Kentucky did not track party affiliation for registered voters who were neither Democratic nor Republican. The Kentucky voter registration card does not explicitly list anything other than Democratic Party, Republican Party, or Other, with the "Other" option having a blank line and no instructions on how to register as something else.