Veteran political reporter sees potential for infighting among N.H. progressives ahead of 2020

Veteran political reporter Paul Steinhauser said in an interview Wednesday that a mix of potential 2020 candidates could split the progressive vote in New Hampshire.

"The progressives in this state are energized," Steinhauser, who covers New Hampshire politics for the Concord Monitor News, told Hill.TV co-hosts Buck Sexton and Krystal Ball on "Rising."

"A lot of them still maybe with [Sen. Bernie] Sanders [I-Vt.] again, but if [Sen.] Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenJulián Castro defends going on Fox: I'm focused on 'the people out there watching' Julián Castro defends going on Fox: I'm focused on 'the people out there watching' O'Rourke unveils plan to support women, minority-owned businesses MORE [D-Mass.] gets in, or [Sen.] Jeff MerkleyJeffrey (Jeff) Alan MerkleyDemocratic White House hopefuls push to expand health care in US territories Democratic White House hopefuls push to expand health care in US territories Hillicon Valley: Assange hit with 17 more charges | Facebook removes record 2.2B fake profiles | Senate passes anti-robocall bill | Senators offer bill to help companies remove Huawei equipment MORE [D-Ore.], who's been up here multiple times gets in, you could have a fight in the progressive lane as well up here in New Hampshire," he added.

Steinhauser predicted that if Sanders decides to launch another presidential bid that the majority of his supporters would stay with him.

"But they'll be some that definitely tail off, and maybe go with Warren if she runs," he said. "Merkley has been making a lot of friends up here. He's kind of a quiet guy. He's not that exciting and fiery on the campaign trail, but a lot of progressives like what he's saying."

Steinhauser's comments come hours after Tuesday's midterm elections.

Speculation has already started swirling around several potential candidates for the Democratic field, including Sens. Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerThe generational divide of Joe Biden and the Democratic Party Booker, O'Rourke, Buttigieg rally with striking McDonald's workers in South Carolina Booker, O'Rourke, Buttigieg rally with striking McDonald's workers in South Carolina MORE (D-N.J.) and Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisThe generational divide of Joe Biden and the Democratic Party 2020 Democrats mark 7th anniversary of DACA 2020 Democrats mark 7th anniversary of DACA MORE (D-Calif.) and former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenButtigieg on Biden's Iraq War vote: 'that vote was a mistake' Buttigieg on Biden's Iraq War vote: 'that vote was a mistake' Ocasio-Cortez starts petition to repeal Hyde Amendment MORE.

"There's a lot of anticipation to see if former Vice President Joe Biden comes up here. He purposefully stayed away -- so did Warren, so did Kamala Harris," Steinhauser said. "There's a couple of the top potential contenders that weren't here during the pre-season, and during the 2018 midterms, so there's some interest to see if they come up here."

— Julia Manchester