NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) – Warren Judge, a Dare County commissioner and candidate for North Carolina’s House of Representatives passed away after being hospitalized in critical condition.
Judge was running for the District 6 seat, and had served the Dare County Board of Commissioners since 2000, according to his biography. He fell ill Wednesday, and was being treated in Sentara Norfolk General Hospital’s heart unit, according to a hospital spokesperson.
Judge had been married to his wife, Tess for 41 years. The two had four children and grandchildren.
Bob Woodard, chairman of the Board of Commissioners, said he would address Judge’s death at a regularly scheduled board meeting Monday.
“My heart is saddened by the passing of Warren,” Woodard said. “He was a close personal friend, and my my heart goes out to Tess and her family during this most difficult time.”
Woodard says Judge was the definition of an outstanding citizen.
“Warren truly paid his civic rent. He was second to none giving back to the community,” Woodard said.
Woodard says that Judge was devoted to the county and worked on a number of committees. According to Judge’s biography on his website, he served on the Outer Banks Tourism Board, the Social Services Board, and the Airport Authority.
“He was such a dynamic person. People just knew they could count on him and he’s going to leave a legacy behind,” said Nicholas Nuzzi, a former Dare County school board member.
Nuzzi says Judge got into politics to help the education system and helped bring new school buildings to the county. He says by working closely with the school board, he and Judge became like brothers. He believes Judge would’ve excelled if he was elected to the state house the position.
“He’s the kind of leader, regardless of partisanship, he knows how to reach across the aisles and put away petty disagreements. He’s a politician who can build bridges,” Nuzzi said.
Woodard, who is seeking re-election for his seat as party chair, says despite belonging to different parties, Judge would’ve made a huge impact on the state level.
“He sought a seat in the state legislature where he would’ve had our best interest,” Woodard said.
Although Judge will never serve in office again, he could still be elected on Tuesday.
The Democratic Party of Dare County released a statement regarding Judge’s death stating:
“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. 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.”
Governor Pat McCrory also released a statement saying:
“I was saddened to learn today of the passing of Dare County Commissioner Warren Judge. In his 16 years as a commissioner, he worked tirelessly for his community, including working with me to help make the replacement of the Bonner Bridge a reality. Ann and I offer our prayers to his family during this difficult time.”
Woodard and Nuzzi also expressed their sympathies to Judge’s family especially his wife, Tess. The loss will leave a hole in the community.
“It just won’t be the same without Warren in Dare County,” Nuzzi said.
Judge’s family is still working out funeral arrangements, Woodard said.