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 WarrenAre Democrats turning Trump-like? Manufacturing shrinks, raising questions for Trump Volatile presidential polls spark new round of anxieties MORE [D-Mass.] gets in, or [Sen.] Jeff MerkleyJeffrey (Jeff) Alan MerkleySenate Democrats push Trump to permanently shutter migrant detention facility Senate Dem seeks answers from DHS on reports of pregnant asylum seekers sent back to Mexico Schumer backs Pelosi as impeachment roils caucus 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 Hill's Campaign Report: Battle for Senate begins to take shape Steve King to Gillibrand: Odds of me resigning same as yours of winning presidential nomination We need a climate plan for agriculture MORE (D-N.J.) and Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisAre Democrats turning Trump-like? Volatile presidential polls spark new round of anxieties Conservative commentator rips Shapiro over criticism of people with multiple jobs MORE (D-Calif.) and former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenAre Democrats turning Trump-like? Volatile presidential polls spark new round of anxieties British Bookmaker: Warren has replaced Biden as Democratic primary favorite 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