Rep. Thomas N. Kindness (R-Ohio) said yesterday he is challenging Rep. John B. Anderson (R-Ill.) for the No. 3 spot in the House Republican leadership, because Anderson is too liberal and too much a maverick to lead House Republicans.

Kindness also said that because Anderson is running for president he might be too busy for his duties as chairman of the House Republican Conference.

The race for Republican conference chairman now appears to be the only important House leadership contest. Both parties will caucus in December to elect leaders.

A 49-year-old conservative from Hamilton, Ohio, Kindness was first elected in 1974. He serves on the Judicary and Government Operations committees.

Kindness criticized Anderson for being "more liberal (than other Republicans) with regard to spending," adding that with an antispending mood apparent in the country, "House Republicans need an active conference that serves as a forum for formulation and debate of ideas and a leadership that articulates those ideas to the public."

Anderson also has a "reputation for being individualistic," Kindness said. "The Republican Conference needs a few mavericks, but mavericks are not best suited for a position which requires an ability to develop a consensus among divergent positions within a party."

Anderson, 56, who will be seeking his fifth term as conference chairman, said Kindness' statements were "the kind of generalized, vague charge that has been made in the past" by conservative opponents for this post.

"Insistence on sterile ideology party," he said.

doesn't denote a healthy political.

Anderson said Kindness was a member of the advisory board of the Committee for Survival of a Free Congress, "the new right organization which committed money and services to defeating me in my primary."

Anderson also said he has supported his party on major issues of party loyalty and worked harmoniously with the leadership and that he is an effective spokesman for party positions.

Kindness said a group of about 15 Republicans, of which he is one, have been meeting since September trying to find a candidate to oppose Anderson.

Kindness said he decided to run instead to give Republicans a choice. He added that if a stronger candidate came forward he would gladly step aside.