Rep. Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.) accused his Democratic primary challenger, state Sen. Adriano Espaillat, of running a race based solely on his Dominican heritage.

“What the heck has he done, besides saying he’s a Dominican?” Rangel said in one of his first attacks in a heated debate on Friday.“He wants to be the Jackie Robinson of the Dominicans in the Congress,” Rangel added, according to the New York Times.

“The fact is that Jackie Robinson was a star before he reached the major leagues, and he’s not a Jackie Robinson.”

The two are facing off, along with Rev. Michael Walrond, in a nasty primary fight for the district.

Espaillat, who came within about 1,000 votes of defeating Rangel in a primary last cycle, has charged the 22-term congressman has been in office for too long. He’s believed to have a better shot at defeating the congressman this time around.