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 WarrenSupport drops for Medicare for All but increases for public option Hillicon Valley: Warren takes on Facebook over political ads | Zuckerberg defends meetings with conservatives | Civil liberties groups sound alarm over online extremism bill Feehery: Trump may be down, but he's not out yet MORE [D-Mass.] gets in, or [Sen.] Jeff MerkleyJeffrey (Jeff) Alan MerkleyDemocrats urge Rick Perry not to roll back lightbulb efficiency rules Democratic senator on Trump's 'treason' comments about whistleblower: 'I worry about threats on his or her life' Overnight Energy: Lawmakers show irritation over withheld Interior documents | Republican offers bipartisan carbon tax bill | Scientists booted from EPA panel form new group 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 BookerHillicon Valley: Warren takes on Facebook over political ads | Zuckerberg defends meetings with conservatives | Civil liberties groups sound alarm over online extremism bill O'Rourke hits back at Buttigieg over criticism of his gun buyback proposal Progressives fume at Buttigieg, warn him not to attack Warren at debate MORE (D-N.J.) and Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisO'Rourke hits back at Buttigieg over criticism of his gun buyback proposal Warren leads Democratic field by 3 points in new national poll Analysis: Warren and Booker most cyber-aware 2020 candidates MORE (D-Calif.) and former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenSupport drops for Medicare for All but increases for public option Bolton told ex-Trump aide to call White House lawyers about Ukraine pressure campaign: report Federal prosecutors in New York examining Giuliani business dealings with Ukraine: 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