Democrats’ darling. Texas state Sen. Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth, whose failed summer filibuster made her the darling of the national abortion-rights movement, has finally announced her intention to run for governor next year. Speculation over her gubernatorial intentions began while she still held the state Senate floor during an hours-long marathon to delay the legislature’s adoption of strict new pro-life laws. After the laws passed during a special session, Davis held fundraising events in Washington, D.C., shaking hands and taking money from breathless admirers. But her bid for statewide office will be an uphill slog. Texas is a solidly conservative state, even though early polls show Davis “within shouting distance” of Attorney General Greg Abbott, the Republican frontrunner to succeed Gov. Rick Perry. Davis raised about $1 million during her national tour. Abbott already has a $20 million campaign war chest.
Tragedy at sea. A boat carrying about 500 migrants from North Africa to Italy capsized this morning, killing at least 95. Another 250 people are believed missing. Only 159 have been rescued so far. Most of the migrants, who came from Eritrea, did not know how to swim. Italian officials say the tragedy highlights the need for a European strategy for dealing with the massive influx of refugees, which disproportionately affects countries that border the Mediterranean. Survivors said two fishing boats saw them in distress but refused to come to their aid. After the boat’s engine stalled, the migrants lit a small fire to attract attention from potential rescuers. The fire quickly spread and sank the boat.
Plea deal. A Florida teen charged with a felony sex crime over her relationship with a 14-year-old girl is expected to accept a plea deal today to avoid being convicted as a sex offender. Lawyers for Kaitlyn Hunt initially said they would not accept any deal and accused the prosecutor of pursuing the case because their client was a lesbian. But Indian River County prosecutor Bruce Colton maintained his claim that Hunt was just as responsible under the law as a man. At the time the victim’s parents reported the relationship to authorities, Hunt was 18. Florida law forbids adults from having sex with minors. Hunt, who never denied the relationship, faced up to 15 years in prison. Under the terms of the plea deal, she will remain in jail until Dec. 20 and serve three years of probation.
Storm watch. Gulf Coast states are bracing for what could be the first hurricane to make landfall in the area this season. Tropical Storm Karen formed overnight just off Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula and is expected to make landfall somewhere between Louisiana and the Florida panhandle.