The third time won’t be the charm for Kevin Wolff, who announced at a WCHL forum Thursday night that he’s ending his campaign.

Wolff, a patent attorney who failed in 2005 and 2007 bids as well, had taken out newspaper ads encouraging Councilman Matt Czajkowski to drop out of the race, saying that the two would split votes. Tonight he decided he was the one who needed to go.

Wolff said he wants to see a moderate mayor and that Czajkowski now provides the best chance to achieve that goal. He said he expects Councilman Mark Kleinschmidt, a liberal, to win the race. Wolff called on republican Augustus Cho to join him in leaving the two councilmen to fight for Chapel Hill’s top job.

This marks the end of what has been, by all accounts, a troubled and controversial campaign for Wolff. He upset some residents with a push poll in which the words “moral” and “mayoral” were confused, leading some to say that Wolff claimed to be the only “moral” candidate. He denied those charges.

His “Keep Matt where he’s at” advertisements also drew scrutiny. Wolff also was an outspoken critic of publicly financed elections before deciding to file for the funding. He then loaned himself $10,000 for his campaign, which disqualified him from the program.

Early voting started today, and Wolff’s name will remain on the ballot.

You can hear Wolff’s announcement here.