Henning Holmgaard, the last Republican to unseat a Democratic freeholder in Hunterdon County and a Danish immigrant who held elected office in two states, died on March 16. He was 75.
Holmgaard defeated Benjamin Kirkland, a popular three-term Democrat, in a 1982 race for freeholder. He won by about 2,400 votes in a contest that was viewed as an upset at the time after criticizing Kirkland for a backing a “Cadillac kitchen” at the new county jail.
He began his political career in 1977 when Werner Grossmueller stepped down from his seat on the Alexandria Township Committee. He defeated Democrat Edward Nemeth in a special election for the 26 months left on Grossmueller’s term.
Holmgaard later became the mayor of Alexandra.
He became freeholder director in 1985 and did not seek re-election to the freeholder board that year in a bid to keep politics out of a decision to choose a location for a county landfill.
In 1999, ten years after moving to Forks Township, Pennsylvania, Holmgaard was elected to a six-year term as a township supervisor. He did not seek re-election in 2005.