A fresh wave of ads pushed President Bush's spending to nearly $46 million for July, the Republican's highest level since he launched the first ad blitz of his re-election campaign in March, a campaign finance report filed Friday shows.

About $38 million of Bush's July spending last month went to admaking firm Maverick Media.

The Bush campaign raised $14 million in July, about as much as it has been taking in each month since it stopped holding fund-raising events in April and continued accepting donations through the mail and over the Internet.

Bush took in a record $242 million from the official start of his campaign in May 2003 through last month. He started August with $32.5 million left and about $458,000 in bills to pay.

Bush is on pace to break the $250 million mark by the time his primary fund-raising concludes with his nomination Sept. 2 at the Republican National Convention (search) in New York. He has spent about $209 million.

As Democratic rival John Kerry (search) did, Bush is expected to accept $75 million in full government financing for his general-election campaign. That means once he is nominated by his party, he can no longer spend private donations on campaign expenses, though he can continue raising them to cover legal and accounting costs.

Kerry was expected to file his monthly report to the Federal Election Commission (search) later Friday. His campaign has said he raised more than $203 million as of July 20, and several million more during the Democratic National Convention in Boston last month, until government financing for his general-election campaign put an end to his private campaign fund raising.

Because Kerry was nominated by his party roughly one month earlier than Bush will be, the Democrat has to make his government check stretch that much longer than Bush must.

Both candidates will benefit from help by their national party committees, which can each spend about $16 million in coordination with their presidential candidate and unlimited amounts independent of him.