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Hoyt revelations come at a critical time

   Assemblyman Sam Hoyt is being accused of having affairs with two interns.

   Hoyt has all but admitted that he had cheated on his wife. He told The Buffalo News he had "broken my wedding vows" and he released a statement saying he and his wife had experienced a "difficult time" in their marriage several years ago.

   But he says he did nothing illegal or against State Assembly rules. The State Legislature has a strict policy against lawmakers fraternizing with interns -- a rule put into place in 2004 after a series of scandals involving politicians and interns.

   Now, a state ethics panel has taken up the issue and will decide whether Hoyt's indiscretions warrant censure.

   Even if Hoyt is exonerated -- records obtained by the News indicate the women with whom Hoyt was involved in weren't interns -- the eight-term assemblyman has a major political problem on his hands.

   With a primary just weeks away, how will Western New Yorkers react to the personal indiscretions of the assemblyman.

   Will they care? Should they care?

   Will they still vote for him or vote for his challenger, Barbra Kavanaugh? Or will they simply sit out the election?

  -- Maki Becker

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