With the Korean War stalemated, inflation rising, and stories of corruption in the Truman White House on newspaper front pages, Republicans believed their nominee for president in 1952 was well positioned to capture the White House for the first time since 1928. But who would carry the Republican banner? In the dramatic contest between Ohio senator Robert A. Taft and General Dwight D. Eisenhower, Pennsylvania governor John Fine intended to play a significant, perhaps even a kingmaker, role. This article traces Fine's decision to withhold an endorsement of either candidate until the last possible moment at the Republican National Convention and its impact. As events played out, he waited too long, thereby alienating leaders from the two rival candidates' camps and negating his influence. Worse for Fine, his inability to gain recognition from the convention chair to put Eisenhower over the top as the party nominee played out in full view of television cameras. Fine returned to Harrisburg as a failed kingmaker. His political misadventure blighted his prospects for a position in the Eisenhower administration or further elective office and political influence in Pennsylvania.

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