One of the Republicans running for the Bucks County Board of Commissioners donated more than $1,500 to Democratic candidates over the years, according to federal election records.
Bucks County Controller Pamela Van Blunk, who is seeking a seat as a commissioner, donated to Democrats between 2011 and 2014, the records showed.
The donations have raised some concern among some Republican politicos. One said on Sunday that they questioned why Van Blunk donated to Democrats and now is seeking Republican support.
Federal Election Commission records showed donations were made to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee; Justice 2012, which raised money for a number of Democratic senators; Obama for America; and the Obama Victory Fund. In 2014, Van Blunk donated to Democratic candidate for Congress in New Jersey Aimee Belgard, who focused her campaign on defending the Affordable Care Act. Belgard, an attorney, lost the election.
The donations were made by the Republican candidate, an attorney, under her previous name, Pamela Lee. Her last name changed to Van Blunk after she married her husband, Hank.
Van Blunk’s past donations were known to some Republicans during her campaign for county controller in 2019, a Republican source said.
Van Blunk said in a statement that she has addressed the past donations before and she is addressing it for the “final time.”
“On occasion, senior partners with the firm, who were fundraising for national Democrat candidates, asked junior attorneys at the firm to participate. While I agreed to support their specific efforts, this wasn’t a statement of my values; I was doing everything possible to make sure I could support my young family,” she said.
Federal election records showed Van Blunk made the donations while working at the Locks Law Firm and DiOrio and Sereni LLP.
Van Blunk, of Doylestown Township, said she was attracted to the Republican Party because she is a “firm believer in fiscal responsibility, personal responsibility, and a smaller government that better serves the people.”
Van Blunk announced her run for commissioner earlier this year and her campaign touted her work as a litigation attorney and experience graduating cum laude from law school as a single mother with three young kids.
The candidate has said she is running because she believes “Bucks County families deserve someone fighting for them each and every day.”
Bucks County Commissioner Gene DiGirolamo, the Bensalem Township Republican incumbent, is running for reelection. Former GOP Bucks County Commissioner Andy Warren is also running and more Republican candidates are expected to announce.
Democratic Commissioners Chairperson Bob Harvie, of Falls Township, and Vice Chairperson Diane Ellis-Marseglia, of Middletown Township, both incumbents, are seeking reelection. They announced their campaign in December.
A spokesperson for Harvie and Ellis-Marseglia’s campaign responded to Van Blunk’s past donations to Democrats: “Despite being on opposite sides of many issues, it is good to know that Pamela Van Blunk joined us in making the right choice to support President Obama’s re-election campaign in 2012.”
Both Democrats and Republicans view the race for the Bucks County Board of Commissioners as crucial and a predictor of the 2024 presidential and senate elections. Spending on the race is expected to total seven figures.
Below is Van Blunk’s full statement on her donations:
“While this was fully vetted when I won my race for County Controller with over 98,000 votes, I will again, and for the final time, address this question. In fact, this has not come up once on the campaign trail this year, and I am so appreciative of the overwhelming support I’ve received.
“I was a single mother of three, and a new attorney in a large law firm with a regional and national presence. On occasion, senior partners with the firm, who were fundraising for national Democrat candidates, asked junior attorneys at the firm to participate. While I agreed to support their specific efforts, this wasn’t a statement of my values; I was doing everything possible to make sure I could support my young family.
“This was no longer an obstacle for me once I was out and had started my own firm. We all know former Democrats who have seen the far-left movement of that Party and changed their registration to better align with their core values. I have always been a firm believer in fiscal responsibility, personal responsibility, and a smaller government that better serves the people. These values brought me into the Republican Party, where I worked as a local committeewoman for years. These values are what have driven me to run for County Commissioner, because I think they are the principles that should guide county government.“