Vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin has certainly won the hearts of conservative religious leaders in the Lodi area.
In fact, one Lodi pastor would like to see the Alaska governor be president right now.
"If we had a choice of Obama, Biden, McCain or Palin for president, I'd probably choose Palin," said Matt Duerr, of Zion Reformed Church.
Duerr acknowledges that Palin may be a bit inexperienced at 44 to be the leader of the free world, but he still thinks she's the best choice.
"I think I'd pray a lot about it and that God would guide and direct her," Duerr said. "I believe the Lord would give her the strength and knowledge, and she'd do the right thing."
Religious leaders say they admire Palin's stance against abortion, that marriage should be limited to a man and a woman, and her belief in traditional family values.
"She doesn't just say it. She has lived it," Duerr said.
One example local religious leaders cite is Palin having a baby with Down Syndrome and a 17-year-old pregnant daughter.
"Many people would have aborted the (Down Syndrome) baby," said Gene Wilburn, pastor of Big Valley Bible Church, an independent Baptist church on Lodi's Eastside. "I think she is a real asset to the party at this time."
Dale Edwards, pastor of Century Assembly in Lodi, said Palin is valuable to the country because she hasn't been affected by beltway politics.
"She comes from the same grassroots where Lodi comes from," Edwards said.
While Lodi, at more than 60,000 population, is about 10 times larger than Palin's hometown of Wasilla, Alaska, Edwards said that one could consider Lodi a small town when compared to a big city like New York.
Like Duerr, Edwards doesn't have a problem with Palin being president, not just vice president.
"She has a fresh approach," Edwards said. "She's not afraid to come against the establishment as it is. I think we've created an inbred political system that is self-destructive, with a do-nothing Congress that has created wealth for themselves. They're self-perpetuating. With her, she's done something."
Edwards isn't concerned about Palin being "one heartbeat" from the presidency, since McCain is 72 years old.
"I don't think that is an issue," Edwards said. "She has had to make tough decisions as governor, and the president has hundreds of advisers who are specialists in economics and foreign affairs."
Edwards and Duerr say they are impressed with Palin's non-partisanship.
"She has taken on corruption, and she went against party lines," Duerr said. "She's a step beyond being a Democrat or Republican, and voted according to her conscience of what's right.
"So far, I'm very impressed, but I want to reserve the chance to change my mind," Duerr said.
While the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints doesn't endorse candidates as a matter of policy, church leaders are always excited about candidates with strong family values, said Jim Cook, Lodi Stake president.
"Sarah Palin appears to be just such a person," Cook said. "I believe her strong work ethic, her sense of fairness and her can-do attitude will be a great asset to John McCain and the nation, should they be elected."
Ken Owen, founder of Lodi-based Christian Community Concerns, said that Palin has pumped some much-needed energy into the campaign through her speech Wednesday at the Republican National Convention.
"I think she shares a lot of values that all of us hold dear," Owen said. "They are very much aligned with what the founding fathers had in mind from the very get-go."
Owen added that Palin offers something for everyone.
"Regardless of what side of the aisle one is on, I think people can resonate with what she talked about and what the campaign is all about," Owen said. "I think everyone can find something in her speech that they can say 'amen' to."