State Treasurer Janet Cowell made Governing magazines's list of Democrats to watch at the state level.
The Governing writeup: "Cowell, the first woman to be elected North Carolina's treasurer, oversees more than $70 billion in pension fund investments for state employees. The daughter of a Methodist minister and public school teacher, Cowell earned an MBA from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and cut her teeth on Wall Street before moving to the (Tar Heel) State in 1997. She won election to the Raleigh city council in 2001, where she served two terms, then won a state Senate seat in 2004 before winning her first term as treasurer in 2008 against a respected GOP legislator. She was re-elected last fall, even as her fellow Democrats lost the governor's mansion and lost ground in both legislative chambers. North Carolina has been open to electing women to higher office in recent years, and Cowell could get more exposure than usual if the state legislature takes up tax reform this year -- an issue Cowell has emphasized during her tenure."
Joining Cowell on the list are other up-and-comers who are looking to higher office: California Attorney General Kamala Harris and Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom, Nevada Secretary of State Ross Miller and Pennsylvana Attorney General Kathleen Kane.
This is how writer Louis Jacobson described the criteria: "Ambition was a necessary factor, but given how important ambition is to politics, it was not sufficient on its own. We looked for diversity in geography and policy portfolio. We also gave significant weight to these factors: Have they shown unusual leadership qualities? Did they strike a creative alliance across party lines, or offer an innovative policy solution that could be copied elsewhere? Are they pathbreaking demographically? Are they the first woman, minority, Republican or Democrat to hold their position?Do they have a compelling personal story?"