SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — U.S. Rep. Jim Matheson of Utah has been appointed to the Democratic whip team.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer of Maryland made the appointment Thursday.

Matheson will be responsible for helping Democrats count expected votes in the upcoming session. He'll also have the ear of party leaders.

Matheson is a moderate and leader of the fiscally conservative Blue Dog caucus. He won a sixth term in November in a Republican-leaning district by about 5 percentage points.

Stoyer says Matheson's moderate perspective is reflective of Americans' desire for Democrats to find common ground.