Big Labor has donated just under $3 million to the campaign of Virginia Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe, a sure sign it hopes he can shift the right-to-work state to a more union-friendly direction.

The pace of donations accelerated rapidly as the race entered its final weeks, too. Just three weeks ago, the total for organized labor donations to McAuliffe reported by the Virginia Public Access Project was just under $2 million.

That's just direct donations. Big Labor has been spending heavily on McAuliffe in other ways, too. The National Education Association alone has spent more than half a million dollars in television ad buys.

Labor leaders are also doing extensive get-out-the- vote work on McAuliffe's behalf. The AFL-CIO sent an alert to Virginia and Washington, D.C., region union members and liberal activists Nov. 1 asking them to join phone-banking and door-knocking efforts.

That's an awful lot of help for a candidate who has been deliberately evasive about what he would do for Big Labor in the Old Dominion.

It is almost as if Big Labor expects McAuliffe will have a change of heart once in office. Or maybe they already know his heart, but it's the voters who don't?

For more on Big Labor's efforts on behalf of McAuliffe, see my Oct. 14 column "Why Big Labor backs Terry McAuliffe."