House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., declared Tuesday that those who associate themselves with the Tea Party movement could actually harm the Republican party.

“I think the Tea Party folks are pushing the Republican party to an even narrower base, which I think ultimately will not be something that the Independents believe is a good thing for our country,” said Hoyer. “I think the Republican party now has the narrowest base that I have ever seen for the Republican party.”

Hoyer happened to be in Utah over the weekend when delegates to the state’s GOP convention voted to keep veteran Sen. Robert Bennett, R-Utah, off the ballot for the Republican primary later this year. Bennett was hoping to seek election to a fourth term. Many Republicans criticized Bennett for some of his votes and argued he wasn’t conservative enough to represent Utah in the Senate.

“Their base does not want them (Republicans) to sit down and discuss alternatives that are possible,” Hoyer said. “The Utah convention was, I think, stark evidence of that base determination.”