The Persian Gulf War has accomplished what little else could have: It brought a temporary halt to overt political activity in Chicago before the city's Feb. 26 Democratic mayoral primary.
When the fighting erupted last week, Mayor Richard M. Daley and his two primary opponents -- Cook County Commissioner Danny Davis and former mayor Jane Byrne -- suspended campaigning. Daley, the only candidate with money for radio and television ads, also stopped fund-raising and advertising.
With a campaign treasury of almost $1.5 million and a big lead in this week's Chicago Tribune poll, Daley had nothing to lose. The poll showed him with support from 57 percent of likely voters. Davis was supported by 16 percent, Byrne by 4 percent.
According to the poll, Daley has overwhelming support among white voters and also is viewed favorably by almost half of the city's black voters. Davis, who is black and has the backing of key Chicago blacks, is expected to close the gap by making inroads among undecided black voters.
David Wilhelm, Daley's campaign manager, said the campaign has "very tentative" plans, depending on events in the gulf, to resume television advertising this weekend and fund-raising and phone bank activities next week. "Life goes on and at some point the campaign goes on," he said.