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 WarrenOn The Money: Inside the Mueller report | Cain undeterred in push for Fed seat | Analysis finds modest boost to economy from new NAFTA | White House says deal will give auto sector B boost Sanders announces first endorsements in South Carolina Poll: Buttigieg surges into contention with Biden, Sanders MORE [D-Mass.] gets in, or [Sen.] Jeff MerkleyJeffrey (Jeff) Alan MerkleyOnly four Dem senators have endorsed 2020 candidates More than 30 Senate Dems ask Trump to reconsider Central American aid cuts Long-shot goal of nixing Electoral College picks up steam 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 BookerButtigieg says he wouldn't be opposed to having Phish play at his inauguration Sanders announces first endorsements in South Carolina Buttigieg to fundraise in DC with major Obama, Clinton bundlers next month: report MORE (D-N.J.) and Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisHarris: Integrity of US justice system 'took a real blow' with Barr's actions Sanders announces first endorsements in South Carolina Poll: Buttigieg surges into contention with Biden, Sanders MORE (D-Calif.) and former Vice President Joe BidenJoseph (Joe) Robinette BidenButtigieg says he wouldn't be opposed to having Phish play at his inauguration Poll: Buttigieg surges into contention with Biden, Sanders Buttigieg to fundraise in DC with major Obama, Clinton bundlers next month: report 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