Those issues are the Obama administration's top priorities, so Matheson has been receiving regular invitations to the White House to be lobbied by the president. He is the frequent target of television and radio ads by both sides.
By taking generally centrist, moderate positions on key legislation, Matheson is helping push the dominant Democrats more toward the middle.
His votes so far on key issues are generally in line with mainstream Utah.
But how do those votes play in his own party? Perhaps not so well, especially in Salt Lake City, where the Democratic majority is probably more left-leaning than Matheson.
If Matheson swings too far to the center, he could easily be targeted by a more liberal Democrat in upcoming elections, especially if the Republican Legislature carves out a highly-Democratic district for him in the redistricting process after the 2010 Census.
Matheson said he will watch carefully what Republicans do with redistricting before the 2012 election. The redistricting outcome may influence him to run for governor or senator in 2012.
Matheson has thrived in his Republican-leaning 2nd Congressional District. It would be highly ironic if he didn't do as well in a more Democratic district.