Tea Party activists must support moderate Republicans or risk seeing liberals elected instead, Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) warned today.

Speaking to constituents at a town hall, Hatch warned Tea Partiers not to split the Republican Party.

"If we fractionalize the Republican Party, we are going to see more liberals elected," Hatch said, according to the Salt Lake City Tribune. 

Conservatives in the audience reportedly booed Hatch's comments.

The Utah Republican cited the 2008 defeat of moderate Republican Sen. Gordon Smith (Ore.), who lost by just 45,000 to now-Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) If conservatives hadn't supported a conservative third party candidate, Hatch said, Smith would have won.