Republican conventions usually choose their nominee in one ballot, as they have since Dwight D. Eisenhower's first nomination in 1952. In 1948 it took Thomas Dewey three ballots to cinch the GOP candidacy. He then lost the election to Harry Truman. Warren Harding emerged victorious in Chicago in 1920 after 10 rounds of ballot-taking in the convention that spawned the phrase "smoke-filled room." In such a room, it is said, party bosses decided Harding would get the nod.But the record cliffhanger for the Grand Old Party was the 1880 convention in Chicago where James Garfield finally was nominated after 36 grueling rounds.