STATE-NEWSRICHMOND, Va. (AP) _ John Whitbeck is the new chairman of the Republican Party of Virginia. The party says its State Central Committee elected Whitbeck as chairman on Saturday. He replaces Pat Mullins, who retired. Whitbeck formerly served as the party’s 10th Congressional District chairman. He will serve the remainder of Mullins’ term as chairman, which runs through the Virginia GOP Convention in the summer of 2016. Also Saturday, Whitbeck announced that former Texas Gov. Rick Perry will be the keynote speaker at the party’s Commonwealth Dinner in Richmond on Feb. 24.