The cromnibus had an unlikely savior Thursday afternoon in the form of a lame-duck lawmaker who used to raise reindeer.

Rep. Kerry BentivolioKerry BentivolioIndiana Republican: Leaders duped me Reindeer farmer saves 'cromnibus' with yes vote High drama as .1T spending package advances by one vote MORE (R-Mich.), who lost his primary earlier this year, was originally among the conservative Republicans who voted against the rule.

ADVERTISEMENT

Without the help of Democrats, Republicans could only lose 17 of their own to pass the rule, which sets up floor debate for the underlying "cromnibus" spending bill.

Speaker John BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerBlue wave poses governing risks for Dems Nancy Pelosi: Will she remain the ‘Face of the Franchise’? Jordan hits campaign trail amid bid for Speaker MORE (R-Ohio) intervened once there were 18 Republican defectors — and not a single Democrat voting "yes." Many Democrats will vote against the government spending measure because they don't like provisions in it regarding campaign finance and changes to the Dodd-Frank financial overhaul.

Boehner lobbied conservatives who voted against the bill in the center of the House floor, including Bentivolio and Rep. Marlin Stutzman (R-Ind.), who also switched his vote. 

After a brief conversation with Boehner, Bentivolio then walked over to a voting machine and switched his vote. No other lawmakers appeared to try to persuade him to do otherwise.

The Speaker also tried lobbying other defectors like Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.), but didn't change their minds.

Ultimately, 16 Republicans voted against the rule and it passed on a squeaker vote of 214-212.

The 16 Republican defectors were Reps. Justin Amash (Mich.), Michele Bachmann (Minn.), Dave Brat (Va.), Mo Brooks (Ala.), Paul Broun (Ga.), Louie Gohmert (Texas), Paul Gosar (Ariz.), Tim Huelskamp (Kan.), Walter Jones (N.C.), Jim Jordan (Ohio), Steve King (Iowa), Raúl Labrador (Idaho), Thomas Massie (Ky.), Bill Posey (Fla.), Matt Salmon (Ariz.) and Steve Stockman (Texas).

The underlying bill is more likely to pass later Thursday afternoon because Democrats who opposed the rule have said they will vote for the cromnibus to avoid a government shutdown at midnight.