Election 2016: Many In GOP Wary Of Donald Trump's Entry Into Race

Steer clear of the "stupid zone."

That's how one Republican consultant is telling the GOP field to react to Donald Trump's explosive entry into the White House race.

The real estate mogul, flinging insults and bombast while announcing his run Tuesday, is threatening to upend the party's singular focus on a primary process that yields the strongest possible nominee and avoids some of the farcical scenes that tarnished candidates in 2012's circus-style debates.

GOP insiders also warn that more conventional presidential hopefuls must beware Trump's efforts to draw them into his constantly swirling media vortex, one that could lure them into political controversies and hurt their appeal to moderate voters.

Trump, of course, rejects the notion that his candidacy is anything close to damaging to his own party, instead calling it a boon to the GOP when asked Wednesday to respond to Republicans who say he is a distraction to the primary process in a tough election year.

How long Bush and fellow GOP 2016 presidential hopefuls can maintain that discipline, hold their tongues and resist Trump's provocations could dictate just how much the billionaire wildcard will impact the party's primary contests.

But another GOP strategist, Ford O' Connell, who is not currently working with a GOP presidential contender, said it was not going to be easy for candidates to turn the other cheek.

"If you are one of the other candidates, particularly one that has a window to victory, it's hard to ignore The Donald ... but that is your best bet," he said.

While top-tier presidential candidates like Bush, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker may have little to gain from a tangle with Trump, the temptation for a lesser candidate -- desperate for the media spotlight -- might prove irresistible.

"It's going to take a team effort to ignore Trump," said O'Connell.

Read more from Stephen Collinson and Jeremy Diamond at CNN

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Analysis & Political Strategy