Cruz campaign getting financial support from energy sector

U.S. Senator Ted Cruz, the first-term Republican from Texas, leads all candidates in the scramble for oil industry campaign cash, surpassing Jeb Bush, whose father and brother were West Texas oilmen before they became presidents.

Cruz leads all presidential candidates in contributions from employees of oil and natural gas companies through the end of 2015, according to the nonprofit Center for Responsive Politics. His coffers have been boosted by scores of smaller gifts and $25 million to super-PACs that back his campaign from two sources: energy investor Toby Neugebauer and Dan and Farris Wilks, brothers who made their fortune in the fracking boom.

Industry donations are following the surprise story line of the 2016 presidential race which has seen upstart Republican candidates Cruz and Donald Trump beating all establishment favorites. Cruz won the Iowa caucuses on Feb. 1 and was third in New Hampshire Feb. 9, where Trump prevailed. Bush’s campaign has languished.

“If you line up the priorities of the hydrocarbons industry, they fit almost perfectly with Cruz’s positions," Mark Jones, a political science professor at Rice University in Houston, said in an interview. “It’s a natural policy fit.”

Cruz’s stance on climate change and policies such as cap-and-trade align with the industry’s critical views, according to Jones. More generally, his belief in limited government also fits with industry concerns about environmental regulation. While the industry initially was supportive of Bush, the perception now is that he’s unlikely to become the Republican nominee, he said.
This support is despite his position on stopping many of the tax breaks for the industry in exchange for lower rates.  Cruz has also been an effective advocate against the tendency of Washington to pick winners and losers.  His free market views are compatible with many in the industry.


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