"No more business as usual."
His opponent in that election was was Attorney General Jim Ryan, a man who had two distinct disadvantages. He shared the last name of another governor, George Ryan, who had been dogged by coverage of his own pay to play corruption scandal.
Blagojevich turned than name into a weapon.
"Neither George Ryan or Jim Ryan did anything to change that failed system," Blagojevich said at the time " And, and as everyday passed the corruption continued."
In style and appearance, Blagojevich was a generational change. He was an Elvis aficionado and a Cubs fan. And he quickly became comfortable with cameras.
"This could be our last hurrah with you or this could be the beginning of a long relationship," told reporters who covered his vote on election day in 2002.
With a win, Blagojevich was off to Springfield with a loud and clear message.
He made promises of "rejecting the politics of mediocrity and corruption," and "a system of corruption that has become too common place."
Within the year, the federal authorities had opened an investigation of his administration.
Fast forward to the summer of 2008. With 13 friends and associates facing federal charges, Blagojevich's media darling status turned increasingly testy.
But looking back, there is one quote that everyone remembers. In 2005, the governor accused father-in-law Alderman Dick Mell of using his office to cash in on state business.
"Do you have the testicular virility to make a decision like that knowing what's coming your way?" he asked publicly.
Mell may want to ask Blagojevich the same question now.