We’ve heard that the 2014 election will break a lot of spending records in Maine. 

Exhibit A: On Feb. 24, USW Works, a super PAC for the United Steelworkers union, gave $300,000 to the Maine Democratic Party, according to filings with Federal Elections Commission (H/T to the Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting, which spotted it first, and As Maine Goes, for posting it first).

This is a significant money dump and not just because it’s large. And it’s definitely large. After a quick search, it looks like the largest single disbursement from a union organization to a state party committee.

That it went directly to the Maine Democratic Party’s federal fund, and not Maine-based political action committee, is also significant because it may mean more money to fund the ground game for Democratic legislative races and the gubernatorial bid for U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud, who is hoping to unseat Gov. Paul LePage and defeat independent Eliot Cutler in November.

A $300,000 expenditure from a PAC is more likely be spent on ads, as was the case when the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee and the Republican State Leadership Committee posted similarily sized drops in 2012 and 2010. While it’s possible that the party could use the USW funds for the same purpose, a big drop like this, this early, could be funding phone banks, canvassing, voter registration drives, etc. The party committees function as the field infrastructure for candidates running for statewide office.

There are at least 11 local USW shops in Maine — mostly paper mills — which means people in the union who are politically active could become part of the field operation and help Michaud in his bid for the Blaine House. 

As with any large donation like this, the question becomes what will the candidate do to pay it back if they’re elected? This may be less of a mystery for Michaud, who has long been supported by unions and advanced their causes as a six-term congressman (A former mill worker, he’s also a member of the USW).

Still, just like the 2012 legislative races in Maine, the USW Works money dump should also put to rest the myth that Republicans were the only beneficiaries when the U.S. Supreme Court struck down campaign donation limits for corporations and unions.

Both sides can spend big money now. And both will.