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 LeeCongress set for clash over surveillance reforms The Hill's Morning Report — AG Barr, GOP senators try to rein Trump in Overnight Defense: Senate votes to rein in Trump war powers on Iran | Pentagon shifting .8B to border wall | US, Taliban negotiate seven-day 'reduction in violence' 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.