Democrats claimed nine Republican governorships and seized control of nine GOP-controlled state house and senate chambers Tuesday in elections for state and local offices across the country.

Although the Republicans won two governorships held by Democrats in California and New Hampshire, the election put Democrats in a position of dominance in 34 state capitals. The ranks of GOP governors dwindled from 23 to 16.

In wins that were centered in the industrial Midwest but stretched from New York to Nevada and into the Deep South, Democrats were carried to victory in large part on the shoulders of disenchantment over the national economy. But officials in both parties also pointed out yesterday that other factors, including turnout and personal quirks of the candidates, figured in the Democrats' sweep.

One of the biggest prizes, the Illinois statehouse, was still the subject of contention yesterday as incumbent Gov. James R. Thompson held a dwindling lead over Democrat Adlai E. Stevenson III in an unexpected photo-finish.

Even as they surveyed the losses, Republicans were exultant about their victory in California as Attorney General George Deukmejian defeated Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley after trailing him for months in a race that received national attention.

But the damage the GOP suffered in other states went beyond their early expectation of holding their losses to five governors.

Texas Republican Gov. Bill Clements, an ally of President Reagan who spent a record $12 million to defend his seat, was unexpectedly defeated by Democrat Attorney General Mark White.

Although he made a strong showing, another Republican in the Reagan mold, drugstore magnate Lewis E. Lehrman, ultimately failed to overcome Democrat Lt. Gov. Mario M. Cuomo in a New York campaign fueled by more than $7 million of Lehrman's own fortune.

Returning to the national limelight where he was once a symbol of racial segregation, George C. Wallace claimed an unprecedented fourth term as Alabama governor, defeating the conservative, pistol-packing Montgomery Mayor, Emory Folmar.

Three Democrats made gubernatorial comebacks yesterday. Michael S. Dukakis was returned to the governor's chair in Massachusetts, as was Rudy Perpich in Minnesota and Bill Clinton in Arkansas.

In the economically depressed Midwest, Democrats reclaimed Republican-controlled governorships in Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin and Nebraska. They scored victories as well in Nevada, Alaska and New Mexico.

Democratic incumbents were also reelected in Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Kansas, Maine, Maryland, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, South Carolina and Wyoming.

Republicans held Iowa and incumbents were reelected in Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Tennessee and Vermont.

Along with the Democratic victories yesterday in the campaigns for governor came a renewed surge of strength elsewhere in the statehouses.

Of the nation's 99 state legislative chambers elected on a partisan basis, Democrats took control of nine previously in GOP hands. Democrats won control of lower houses in Delaware, Illinois, Iowa, Pennsylvania and Washington. They also captured control of the state senate in Maine, Ohio, Iowa and Washington.

The Republicans made no such gains, although the outcome of three races for the Alaska House was in doubt and held out the possibility of one shift in their direction.

As a result of the election, Democrats expanded from 28 to 34 the number of states in which they control both houses of the legislature. Republicans previously controlled both chambers in 15 states, but that dwindled to 12 states yesterday. The number of states with split legislatures -- one of each party -- was reduced from six to three.

The National Conference of State Legislatures estimated yesterday that of the 6,307 Democratic Tide Sweeps State Races Party Will Dominate 34 Statehouses in '83 By David Hoffman and Jay Mathews Washington Post Staff Writers

Democrats claimed nine Republican governorships and seized control of nine GOP-controlled state house and senate chambers Tuesday in elections for state and local offices across the country.

Although the Republicans won two governorships held by Democrats in California and New Hampshire, the election put Democrats in a position of dominance in 34 state capitals. The ranks of GOP governors dwindled from 23 to 16.

In wins that were centered in the industrial Midwest but stretched from New York to Nevada and into the Deep South, Democrats were carried to victory in large part on the shoulders of disenchantment over the national economy. But officials in both parties also pointed out yesterday that other factors, including turnout and personal quirks of the candidates, figured in the Democrats' sweep.

One of the biggest prizes, the Illinois statehouse, was still the subject of contention yesterday as incumbent Gov. James R. Thompson held a dwindling lead over Democrat Adlai E. Stevenson III in an unexpected photo-finish.

Even as they surveyed the losses, Republicans were exultant about their victory in California as Attorney General George Deukmejian defeated Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley after trailing him for months in a race that received national attention.

But the damage the GOP suffered in other states went beyond their early expectation of holding their losses to five governors.

Texas Republican Gov. Bill Clements, an ally of President Reagan who spent a record $12 million to defend his seat, was unexpectedly defeated by Democrat Attorney General Mark White.

Although he made a strong showing, another Republican in the Reagan mold, drugstore magnate Lewis E. Lehrman, ultimately failed to overcome Democrat Lt. Gov. Mario M. Cuomo in a New York campaign fueled by more than $7 million of Lehrman's own fortune.

Returning to the national limelight where he was once a symbol of racial segregation, George C. Wallace claimed an unprecedented fourth term as Alabama governor, defeating the conservative, pistol-packing Montgomery Mayor, Emory Folmar.

Three Democrats made gubernatorial comebacks yesterday. Michael S. Dukakis was returned to the governor's chair in Massachusetts, as was Rudy Perpich in Minnesota and Bill Clinton in Arkansas.

In the economically depressed Midwest, Democrats reclaimed Republican-controlled governorships in Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin and Nebraska. They scored victories as well in Nevada, Alaska and New Mexico.

Democratic incumbents were also reelected in Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Kansas, Maine, Maryland, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, South Carolina and Wyoming.

Republicans held Iowa and incumbents were reelected in Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Tennessee and Vermont.

Along with the Democratic victories yesterday in the campaigns for governor came a renewed surge of strength elsewhere in the statehouses.

Of the nation's 99 state legislative chambers elected on a partisan basis, Democrats took control of nine previously in GOP hands. Democrats won control of lower houses in Delaware, Illinois, Iowa, Pennsylvania and Washington. They also captured control of the state senate in Maine, Ohio, Iowa and Washington.

The Republicans made no such gains, although the outcome of three races for the Alaska House was in doubt and held out the possibility of one shift in their direction.

As a result of the election, Democrats expanded from 28 to 34 the number of states in which they control both houses of the legislature. Republicans previously controlled both chambers in 15 states, but that dwindled to 12 states yesterday. The number of states with split legislatures -- one of each party -- was reduced from six to three.

The National Conference of State Legislatures estimated yesterday that of the 6,307 state legislative seats open this year, Democrats would gain between 150 and 200. Going into the election, 4,478 were held by Democrats and 2,941 by Republicans.

In some cases, a Democratic victory at the top of the state ballot appeared to spill over to other offices.

In Ohio, for example, the Republican-controlled state senate was captured by the Democrats. It was the first time in 24 years that Democrats controlled the governor's mansion as well as both houses of the legislature. It was the first time since the Great Depression that Democrats swept all the constitutional offices of attorney general, secretary of state, auditor amd treasurer.

In Texas, populist Democrat Jim Hightower was elected agriculture commissioner with 62.4 percent of the vote, in one of the most publicized races in the nation. The Democratic tide was so strong in Texas that it carried a dead man to victory. State Sen. John Wilson, who died of lung cancer on Sept. 19, received more than 66 percent of the vote.

The shift in the governorships and statehouses could give Democrats a broader grass-roots base for the 1984 presidential campaign. Party strategists note, for example, that retiring governors William G. Milliken of Michigan and James A. Rhodes of Ohio both had aided the Republican presidential cause in 1980.

"It's a lot easier in a state where you have a friendly governor," said Ann Lewis, political director of the Democratic National Committee.

Another Democratic operative said the election of Rep. James Blanchard in Michigan and former Peace Corps director Richard Celeste in Ohio, among others, would give the party "the tools" for building a base in those states from which to launch a presidential campaign. But, the official added, it remains to be seen whether these newly elected Democrats, facing monumental tax and budget problems, will be able to succeed at the task of building organizations by 1984.

In fact, those troublesome fiscal problems will be at the top of the agenda when the new Democrats take office next year. Martin Miller, president of State and Federal Associates Inc., a firm that monitors trends in state capitals, said yesterday that dozens of states will be faced next year with painful tax and budget decisions. Although Republicans have been loath to raise taxes -- though many GOP governors were forced to because revenues plummeted in the recession -- Miller said the Democratic tide could portend a new round of state tax hikes most likely directed at corporations.

Though the conventional wisdom is that national issues only obliquely affect gubernatorial campaigns, the economy showed up clearly in the returns from the Midwest this year, and incumbent Sen. Richard G. Lugar (R-Ind.) called it a "disaster" for the Republican Party. But there were some contradictions. In depressed Michigan, Democrat Blanchard did not win a runaway victory. And in equally depressed Oregon, incumbent GOP Gov. Victor Atiyeh was easily reelected.

Where the economy was not the chief factor in Democratic wins, turnout played a decisive role. "What we could not have predicted was the turnout" in the governors' races, said one Republican official who did not want to be identified said. . "Lane Kirkland [AFL-CIO chief] did what he said he was going to do: get out the vote. He got it."

Personalities also decided some of the races. Wallace, who declared his segregationist views two decades ago, was elected over Folmar with a surge of black support. Explained one Democratic operative: Folmar was viewed as "the new George Wallace, 20 years later."

Democrats also eked out a narrow victory in Nebraska, where Bob Kerrey, a charismatic restaurant owner who never before had served in government, retired bland incumbent Gov. Charles Thone, who ran a lackluster campaign even in the eyes of GOP specialists and allowed himself to get caught in an embarrassing spot over rising state deficits. Kerrey, a Vietnam veteran and Medal of Honor winner, could be a rising star in the Democratic party.

In other state races, Hubert H. Humphrey III, son of the late Minnesota senator, was elected that state's attorney general. A Democrat who goes by the nickname "Skip," Humphrey has been serving as a state senator. In Georgia, Max Cleland, former director of the Veterans Administration in the Carter years, was elected secretary of state.