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Texas voters are watching to see who their neighbors would vote for in the GOP presidential primary

Texas voters are watching to see who their neighbors would vote for in the GOP presidential primary

California seeks to ban sales of diesel big rigs in a bold bid to cut pollution

By Mark Hausner

The Associated Press

Posted: 07/11/2014 01:35:59 PM PDT

Updated: 07/11/2014 01:35:59 PM PDT

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Police and firefighters try to extinguish a bonfire in the parking lot of a refinery on July 9, 2014 in Port Arthur, Texas. The Texas refinery was forced to shutdown Thursday after inspectors found an illegal chemical spill.

PORT ARTHUR, Texas—It’s been a trying week for ExxonMobil. A fire swept through its Texas refinery last month, while the company has also been trying to find a buyer at a time when the price of crude is down.

While those events have taken center stage, the biggest concern for Houston-area residents heading into this weekend’s Republican presidential primary is their choice in a state with the nation’s fourth-largest oil reserves.

Texas is a major source of crude and refining jobs, and one that is still the nation’s leading supplier of fuel to the rest of North America. ExxonMobil dominates the industry, though it has been battered by lower prices in recent years.

Yet with no clear choice at this late stage of the primary, Texas voters are now watching to see what their neighbors to the south would do. Polls suggest that the Texas energy business would like to see Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, who supports the Keystone XL pipeline, as their nominee — and that the GOP presidential nominee would like to see Sen. Marco Rubio.

Both men are viewed as having the necessary backing to win — and win big — in a state where the politics of oil have been a major factor for both the White House and Congress for years.

On the Democratic side, polls show no clear leader, meaning the candidates could draw almost any voters at any time.

So far this year, more than $20 billion has been spent by both sides in Texas at the polls, according to the Texas Ethics Commission.

The top two finishers in each state primary get the 270 delegates in each state’s contest, and the winner of the March 3 caucuses in Iowa will earn 1,237 delegates, while the winner in California will secure 531 delegates.

Cruz, a businessman who served as a state judge and is active in

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