I’m introducing Up Country, a Kennebec Journal and Morning Sentinel blog following politics in Maine’s 2nd Congressional District and its new congressman, Republican Bruce Poliquin.

He has been making headlines, most notably last week with his party-bucking vote against repealing the Affordable Care Act.

The blog will follow Poliquin, but that’s not all it will do. Overall, it will look at politics generally in the 2nd District, a fascinating place in Maine. It’s reliably Democratic in presidential elections, but Republicans dominated there in 2014. This blog will also look at state legislative issues and political figures gaining traction in the district.

It will also track Poliquin’s potential 2016 opponents and their exploits: Democrat Emily Cain, who lost in 2014, has been asked to run for the seat again and her party sees the district as a top pick-up opportunity in 2016, when Democrats should be united around trying to elect Hillary Clinton as president.

The race between Poliquin and Cain in 2014 was the most expensive U.S. House race in Maine’s history. You can bet that 2016 will be more expensive. It’ll also be the only high-profile race for office in Maine in a year when the governor and Maine’s U.S. senators aren’t up for re-election.

Those are the main reasons why we think it’s important to give the 2nd District lots of scrutiny, so I hope you make Up Country your place to follow political news that matters to it. I’ll strive to make it smart, funny and readable.