Few knew what to anticipate from Ron DeSantis when he was first elected Florida governor in 2018 as a little-known congressman. He had barely eked out a victory. He had virtually no ties to the State Capitol. His coverage agenda appeared unclear.

However he knew, not less than, how he wished to manipulate: He directed his basic counsel to determine simply how far a governor may push his authority. He pored over a binder enumerating his different powers: appointing Florida Supreme Court docket justices, eradicating native elected officers and wielding line-item vetoes in opposition to state lawmakers.

Then he systematically deployed each.

4 years later, Mr. DeSantis is coming into the 2024 Republican presidential major race with a promise that he would make the nation extra conservative — simply as he did Florida, utilizing practically each means essential to muscle by his right-wing imaginative and prescient.

“What I used to be capable of convey to the governor’s workplace was an understanding of how a constitutional type of authorities operates, the varied stress factors that exist, and the easiest way to leverage authority to attain substantive coverage victories,” Mr. DeSantis, a Harvard-educated lawyer, wrote in his latest e-book, “The Braveness to Be Free,” which described his systematic strategy to utilizing government energy.

Mr. DeSantis’s willingness to exert that energy in extraordinary methods has led him to barrel by norms, problem the authorized limits of his workplace and threaten political retribution in opposition to those that cross him. Not like former President Donald J. Trump, the 2024 Republican front-runner who considers the governor his high rival, Mr. DeSantis is a eager pupil of American authorities who has expanded his affect tactically and methodically, utilizing detailed information of the pliable confines of his workplace to his benefit.

“He’s essentially the most highly effective governor Florida has ever seen,” stated Jeff Brandes, a former state senator and a uncommon Republican who has raised considerations about Mr. DeSantis’s use of energy. Democrats have been scathing of their evaluation, describing the governor with phrases normally reserved for overseas demagogues.

“People wish to stay in a democracy with freedoms,” Nikki Fried, the chairwoman of the Florida Democratic Celebration, wrote this week on Twitter, “and never underneath an authoritarian regime.”

Jeremy T. Redfern, the press secretary for the governor’s workplace, rejected the assertion that governor has pushed the boundaries of his authority, calling it “nonsense” and a “leftist speaking level.”

Mr. DeSantis was elected by a mere 32,463 votes in 2018 — a margin so slender that it required a recount and will have prompted him to not “rock the boat,” the governor wrote in his e-book. As an alternative, three days after being sworn into workplace in January 2019, he suspended the elected Democratic sheriff of Broward County over his dealing with of the Parkland highschool capturing a yr earlier.

That second put the state on discover that Mr. DeSantis didn’t intend to manipulate like his predecessors, who sometimes suspended elected officers provided that that they had been charged with crimes.

“I earned 50 p.c of the vote,” Mr. DeSantis instructed Republicans at a dinner this month, “however that entitled me to wield 100% of the manager energy.”

Mr. DeSantis has continued focusing on native, elected officers. In 2019, he faraway from workplace the Democratic elections supervisor of Palm Seashore County for her dealing with of the 2018 recount. Mr. DeSantis referred to as the suspensions crucial for accountability.

Final August, Mr. DeSantis suspended 4 members of the Broward County college board — citing a particular grand jury investigation on college safety failures that he had requested from the Republican-majority state Supreme Court docket. All 4 of these ousted had been Democrats who had been elected for the reason that capturing; Mr. DeSantis changed them with Republicans.

That very same month he suspended Andrew H. Warren, the highest prosecutor in Tampa, after Mr. Warren, a Democrat, vowed to not criminalize abortion. The governor didn’t cite any particular case that Mr. Warren had did not prosecute, and data confirmed that the removing had been fueled by politics.

A federal decide dominated that whereas Mr. DeSantis went too far in suspending Mr. Warren, the courtroom had no authority to reinstate him. Mr. Warren has appealed.

Whereas Mr. DeSantis confirmed an early curiosity in consolidating energy in his workplace, the Covid pandemic allowed him to centralize and increase his authority. Throughout the declared emergency in 2020, the governor had the authority — and used it — to spend $5 billion in federal support with out legislative approval.

He went past that, prohibiting native masks and vaccine mandates, calling the Legislature into particular session to write down these bans into regulation, and threatening to withhold pay for directors of public college districts that attempted to defy him.

His laborious line helped him construct a bigger nationwide profile and appeared to propel Mr. DeSantis to manipulate extra assertively, particularly when it got here to heated cultural points in style together with his political base. He reached deep into his administration to compel obscure businesses and boards to enact his insurance policies.

The governor crammed state boards for hospitals and schools with like-minded appointees, finally orchestrating a takeover of New School of Florida, a public liberal arts college in Sarasota that he and his allies hope to show right into a conservative bastion. Two state medical boards whose members had been appointed by the governor prohibited gender-transition look after minors and training regulators expanded a prohibition on classroom instruction on sexual orientation and gender id.

Extra not too long ago, he has used the Division of Enterprise and Skilled Regulation to attempt to remove the liquor licenses from a Miami restaurant, a Miami resort and an Orlando theater as a result of kids have attended drag exhibits on the venues.

“What is horrifying in Florida is that we’re seeing the governor’s continued efforts to consolidate energy underneath himself in order that there aren’t any checks and balances for what he does,” stated Kara Gross, the legislative director and senior coverage counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida.

Mr. DeSantis has additionally relied on uncooked political energy and threats of retribution — usually aimed toward allies.

He has intervened in legislative races, the place his endorsements have helped him stack the Legislature with loyal Republicans and despatched a transparent message to lawmakers to get in line or presumably face a major problem. Final fall, he turned to highschool board races, working with Mothers for Liberty, a right-wing group, to publish an inventory of endorsements for seats which are technically nonpartisan.

Throughout redistricting final yr, when senators drew a congressional map to not Mr. DeSantis’s liking, he vetoed it and compelled the lawmakers to undertake a map that he had put ahead — the primary time anybody within the State Capitol may keep in mind a governor taking such a brash step.

The Senate initially resisted Mr. DeSantis’s map, which eradicated a majority Black district in North Florida and successfully gave Republicans 4 extra seats in Congress. However lawmakers knew that Mr. DeSantis may use endorsements and primaries as a cudgel. In actual fact, he didn’t again the Senate president’s marketing campaign for state agriculture commissioner till after the chamber gave the governor his map. (The map nonetheless faces a courtroom problem.)

But the episode that almost all crystallized the Legislature’s deference to Mr. DeSantis concerned a foe that Florida Republicans would have beforehand been loath to tackle: the Walt Disney Firm, one in all Florida’s largest taxpayers.

When Disney’s chief government on the time opposed laws final yr limiting classroom instruction on sexual orientation and gender id, Mr. DeSantis didn’t hesitate to push again. He referred to as on lawmakers to strip Disney’s particular tax district from a lot of its powers, pitting historically business-friendly lawmakers in opposition to Florida’s most well-known company big.

The standoff has spilled over into this yr, with Disney making strikes to restrict the state’s new oversight board and the state countering to undo Disney’s plans. Disney not too long ago sued Florida in federal courtroom and canceled a $1 billion improvement close to Orlando.

It’s removed from clear Mr. DeSantis will win his battle with Disney. Nonetheless, he sees political upside in boasting that he didn’t bow to company stress.

After the sugar trade backed his opponent within the 2018 Republican major, Mr. DeSantis, in his first week in workplace, signed an government order on water high quality that took intention at a few of the trade’s polluting practices.

“Whereas Huge Sugar didn’t prefer it,” Mr. DeSantis wrote in his e-book, “most individuals throughout the political spectrum in Florida had been thrilled.”

Legislators have been so fast to do Mr. DeSantis’s bidding that they’ve needed to repeatedly return to the State Capitol to retroactively give the governor authority for actions already taken.

“We had a latest seventh particular session — which is meant to be a rare measure — principally to scrub up all the excellent points,” State Senator Jason W.B. Pizzo, a Democrat, stated earlier this yr. “A colleague referred to it as ‘cleanup on aisle 5’ for the governor.”

Throughout that session, held in February, lawmakers handed laws detailing their authority over Disney’s particular tax district. However in addition they amended legal guidelines handed final yr that had mired the DeSantis administration in courtroom.

Mr. DeSantis created an workplace of election crimes in 2022 that introduced fraud costs in opposition to individuals who could have inappropriately solid ballots. However judges threw out case after case, saying that statewide prosecutors lacked the authority to convey these costs. Lawmakers modified the regulation this yr to explicitly empower the prosecutors.

Legislators additionally did away with language that had sophisticated the governor’s authorized justification for flying Venezuelan migrants from San Antonio to Martha’s Winery in Massachusetts final summer season. The unique language adopted in 2022 gave the DeSantis administration the authority to move migrants “from this state” — not from Texas, Mr. Pizzo argued in a lawsuit after the Martha’s Winery stunt. Within the particular February session, lawmakers scrapped that phrase and expanded Mr. DeSantis’s authority to move migrants from anyplace within the nation.

“He fully controls the Legislature,” Mr. Pizzo stated.

Final week, Mr. DeSantis used his affect to line up endorsements for his presidential marketing campaign. His political group introduced the backing of 99 of the state’s 113 Republican legislators, whilst some stated privately that they felt pressured to assist Mr. DeSantis for worry that he may in any other case veto their payments or spending tasks.

Had been Mr. DeSantis to win the White Home, he would doubtless face harder opposition in Washington than he has in Tallahassee. There have already been indicators of division: Final month, 11 of 20 Republican representatives in Florida’s congressional delegation endorsed Mr. Trump over Mr. DeSantis.

Alexandra Berzon and Nicholas Nehamas contributed reporting.