Republicans must "be careful" before nominating a presidential candidate identified with the Tea Party movement, a veteran former senator said Friday evening.

Former Sen. Robert Bennett (R-Utah) warned his party against nominating a candidate too quickly after the early caucuses and primaries, urging the GOP to instead pursue someone with more national appeal.

"If you're going to nominate a national candidate, don't make the mistake of assuming that those who attend the early caucuses and the early primaries speak for the nation as a whole," Bennett said on Fox News. "If you're going to have a national candidate, you'd better have a national view."


Bennett was ousted from the Senate after losing renomination at a state convention to a Tea Party candidate, Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeOvernight Defense: Senate passes 0B defense bill | 3,000 US troops heading to Afghanistan | Two more Navy officials fired over ship collisions Senate passes 0B defense bill Overnight Finance: CBO to release limited analysis of ObamaCare repeal bill | DOJ investigates Equifax stock sales | House weighs tougher rules for banks dealing with North Korea MORE, now the Republican senator from Utah. He said that many of those Tea Party nominees, though, in other Senate races cost the party a shot at the majority in the upper chamber.

That should serve as a "cautionary tale" to Republicans as they look to nominate a candidate for president, Bennett said.

"The Republican nominee has almost always been closer to the center than the center of gravity in the Republican Party," he explained.