Dare County Commissioner Warren Judge of Kitty Hawk, 65, died overnight at Sentara Heart Hospital in Norfolk, Va.
Judge was transported to the hospital Wednesday night. A spokesperson for the Dare County Democratic Party confirmed that Judge had suffered a heart attack but no other information on his condition had been released.
This morning, his family issued a statement through Dare County public information.
“Our hearts are deeply saddened by the loss of our beloved husband, father, grandfather, brother, uncle, and friend, Warren C. Judge III. We are grateful for, and comforted by, all of Warren’s friends and supporters in Dare County, which he loved so dearly. It was one of the greatest honors of Warren’s life to serve as a Dare County Commissioner for the past sixteen years.
“We are also grateful for Warren’s many new friends and supporters he made throughout NC House District 6 over the past year. Warren was looking forward to the opportunity to serve all of the citizens of House District 6 in the NC General Assembly.”
“We are immensely grateful for everyone’s prayers and words of comfort during this difficult time.”
Judge, a Democrat, had served four terms as a Dare County Commissioner — 11 of them as chairman of the board.
Currently, he is running against Republican and fellow Commissioner Beverly Boswell for the N.C. House of Representatives District 6 seat.
He and his wife, Tess, moved to Dare County almost 30 years ago from Jamestown, N.C., where he served three terms on the town council.
In Dare County, he was in the hospitality industry. He owns the Days Inn and owned the Sands Restaurant in Nags Head for many years.
Before he was elected to the Board of Commissioners, Judge served nine years on the Tourism Board, five as chairman, and on the Dare County Airport Authority.
In 2000, Judge was elected to the Board of Commissioners. He has also chaired the Joint Committee on Beach Access, Outer Banks Catch Executive Committee, Shoreline Management Commission, Dare County Social Services Board and the Dare County Capital Improvements Planning Committee.
In addition, he was the Commissioner liaison to the Board of Education during the six years of the Dare County school construction program. In June of 2014, he created a joint task force bringing together representatives of the Board of Commissioners and the Board of Education to work together.
Judge often traveled to Raleigh and Washington, D.C., where he was a familiar figure, advocating for Dare County issues, such as inlet dredging and beach access.
He was also a familiar face on Hatteras Island, where he traveled for almost all public meetings and most other events for which islanders gather — Day at the Docks, oyster roasts, the Christmas Parade.
“He was a very good man, a good friend, and a very good friend to Hatteras Island, he will be missed,” said Allen Burrus, of Hatteras village, his colleague on the Board of Commissioners.
He and his wife Tess were named Dare County Citizens of the Year by the Dare County Chamber of Commerce in 2011. The couple has four children and several grandchildren.
“I understand the challenges that face our region and I pledge to work to make a difference,” Judge said when he decided to run for the state House seat vacated by Paul Tine. “I strongly believe it is important to give back by being involved.”
He also said, “My business experience allows me to understand the challenges that face the small business owner and our workforce.”
Sate law mandates that when a death occurs after a candidates name is placed on a ballot, it remains an option for voters. If Judge wins the election, just two days away, representatives of the Democratic Party will appoint a replacement until the next state election.
“Warren and Tess have worked very hard throughout this year to try to ensure that the District 6 has the representation it deserves and critically needs,” the Dare County Democratic Party said in a statement today. “Now, it is up to us to complete his work by honoring him with our vote.”
“First, we need to get him elected and any discussions about beyond that point, will more appropriately happen after the election.”