Cowell will not seek reelection

Janet CowellJanet Cowell speaks at Wake Tech Community College. Credit: Wake Tech.

N.C. Treasurer Janet Cowell

RALEIGH – N.C. State Treasurer Janet Cowell is expected to announce later Friday morning that she will not run for re-election. Insiders say that Cowell has not shared her immediate future plans, but that they do not include a run for higher office at this point.

A Democrat, Cowell was rumored to be on the short list for president of the University of North Carolina system and is a regular keynote speaker at Democratic party events. She is the first female state treasurer and graduated from the Wharton School of Business. She was ranked in the top 25 for public investor executives of 2013 by the Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute.

The word started trickling out about Cowell’s decision this week, including N.C. Republican Party executive director Dallas Woodhouse posting on his Facebook page Monday night “Get ready N.C. GOP… Hearing major retirement coming….”

Former Rep. Edgar Starnes - Senior Advisor, N.C. Treasury

Edgar Starnes – Senior Advisor, N.C. Treasury

Cowell was first elected treasurer in 2008 and re-elected in 2012. The N.C. treasurer manages the $90 billion pension fund for the state’s public employees. North Carolina’s pension fund is the 32nd largest in the world.

Names of possible candidates for the 2016 run at the post include Dale Folwell, current head of the Employment Security division at the Commerce Department, and former House Majority Leader Edgar Starnes.

Dale Folwell

Dale Folwell, assistant secretary of employment security at the N.C. Dept. of Commerce

Folwell, the former N.C. House member (2005-2012), previously was rumored to be considered for an appointment to the N.C. Department of Revenue in the McCrory cabinet.

Starnes left the N.C. House of Representatives in 2015 to become senior adviser at the Treasury Department. A real estate investor, He represented Caldwell County in the House from 1987 to 1988 and from 1998 to 2015.