At least one person is seeking to challenge a state senator who has the backing of Republican leaders to replace scandal-scarred Rep. Bob Ney on the Nov. 7 ballot.

Four other Republicans have asked about how to get on the ballot by the deadline of Thursday afternoon, said Sarah Kneuss, deputy director of the elections board in Tuscarawas County, where candidates must file petitions to run.

Holmes County Commissioner Ray Feikert said he dropped off his petitions Thursday, which made him the first person to announce a challenge of State Sen. Joy Padgett of Coshocton, who was asked by Ney and House Majority Leader John Boehner to run.

Padgett, who was endorsed by GOP parties in all but one of the 16 counties in the 18th District, hadn't filed her petitions by about an hour before the deadline, but she has said she is running. Tuscarawas County GOP Chairman Douglas Wills would not endorse a candidate because he is on the elections board.

Ney announced last week he was quitting the race, citing the strain of an intensifying corruption investigation that had focused for months on his dealings with disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff. Ney denies wrongdoing and has not been charged.

The other four people who inquired about running didn't say whether they were acting on their own behalf or asking for someone else, Kneuss said.

Candidates must collect 50 valid signatures of Republicans voters in the district to qualify.

The winner of the primary will face Democrat Zack Space, Dover's law director.

The seat has drawn national attention as Democrats try to retake control of the U.S. House, where they have been in the minority since 1995. Ney's seat is one of three open seats in Ohio up for election this year.