MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WIAT) — Standing on the steps of the Alabama State Capitol, Tim James traded his platform for a pulpit.

“Some ask as to whether I’m running for governor or whether I’m preaching,” James said. “In some ways, they’re the same.”

James, son of former Alabama Gov. “Fob” James who last ran for governor in 2010, took the style of a preacher when announcing his run for governor, referring to his campaign a “crusade” and encouraging people to join him as he fought to keep Alabama away from government overreach.

“We’re reaching the tipping point and we will turn back to our Judeo-Christian heritage, or we will be ruled by some form of godless Marxism that controls every aspect of our lives under the yoke of fear and intimidation,” he said. “This battle will not be easy, but we’ll prevail.”

James said that while Gov. Kay Ivey had been a family friend for over 40 years, he felt her administration was overwhelmed.

“I’m running for governor because I believe the leadership in Montgomery have capitulated to the political structures that control this state,” James said. “They just don’t have a stomach for the fight.”

James went on to talk about how Ivey and other Alabama politicians had caved to special interests groups and the “political parasites who care nothing about you and this cultural battle that is being waged,” specifically mentioning longtime state issues like gambling and medicinal marijuana.

Regarding Alabama recently legalizing forms of medicinal marijuana, James said the law was pushed by greedy people who were disguising the “poison” as helping people.

“They are nothing but drug pushers making their fortunes on the backs of people’s misery while their product is working its way to the streets, under the guise of medicine, and it’s got to be stopped,” he said. “I can tell you that.”

On education, James said the state must must deconstruct the education system to its foundation and rebuild it from the bottom up.

“We must take our schools back from education unions and give them back to parents, good teachers, and principals,” he said.

Echoing sentiments from many governors and politicians in conservative states over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, James said he would not cave to federal vaccine mandates.

“On my watch, Washington will never be our puppet master and their vaccine mandates and vaccine passports can go straight to hell,” he said.

James first indicated possibly running for governor back in September, when he spoke about what he felt were the biggest issues facing the state.

“The question of whether I’m going to get into this race has yet to be determined. My family, my children, my wife were praying about it, and we will make a firm decision later this year,” James said at the time.

At the time, CBS 42 political analyst Steve Flowers was unsure of how many would support James for governor. James had previously run for the Republican nomination for governor in 2002 and 2010, but respectively lost to Bob Riley and Robert Bentley.

“I don’t know if he’s got a lot of support left from that 2010 race,” Flowers said. “He may be able to stake out that extreme right wing.”

Others who previously joined the gubernatorial race include former Slovenian ambassador Lindy Blanchard, Springville Mayor Dave Thomas, former Books-A-Million CEO Lew Burdette, and Opelika pastor Dean Odle.

The Republican primary for governor will be held May 24.