Another crowded race …….

Speaker John Boehner said Friday he was resigning from Congress, but he didn’t have the spotlight for long.

Just hours after the Ohio Republican announced he would leave Capitol Hill next month, ambitious GOP lawmakers were already buttonholing, calling, texting and emailing their colleagues about next month’s leadership races.

Rep. Dennis Ross (R-Fla.) blasted out an email to lawmakers Friday seeking their support in what’s expected to be a crowded race for majority whip. Eyeing the same position, Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R-Okla.) was also burning up the phone lines.

Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) is the heavy favorite to replace Boehner as Speaker, and has already begun making calls to colleagues. Rep. Jeff Denham, a fellow California Republican, visited McCarthy’s first floor office in the Capitol Friday, telling The Hill he was “working to convince my good friend, Kevin McCarthy, to run.”

But Rep. Daniel Webster (R-Fla.) said Friday evening he’ll make a run at McCarthy for the top job. And powerful Financial Services Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) is “considering” a leadership bid, possibly for Speaker.

Current Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) held a conference call Friday evening to tell House vote counters that he will run for the majority leader position if McCarthy becomes Speaker, according to a source with knowledge of the call.

Groups of lawmakers huddled in and around the Capitol throughout the day, seeking ways to influence the races. Rules Committee Chairman Pete Sessions (R-Texas) hosted some of the 25-member GOP Texas delegation in his office, courting their support for majority leader, the No. 2 job. When some colleagues objected, Sessions proposed he run for majority whip, said a Texas source familiar with the meeting. But that offer also was met with “vocal objection.”